Alison Luterman is a poet and essayist living in Oakland, California.
Her poems, short stories, and essays have appeared in magazines and anthologies, including Poetry East, Poet Lore, Whetstone, Kalliope, Oberon, The Sun and The Brooklyn Review. Her first book of poems The Largest Possible Life won the Cleveland State University poetry prize and was published in 2001. Her second book, See How We Almost Fly, is forthcoming in 2005.
She’s worked as a poet-in-the-schools, a theater teacher, a freelance journalist, an HIV test counselor, and a drug-and-alcohol prevention counselor, and has given poetry readings and taught writing workshops for adults across the country.
We were making love and it was a solid thing,
a garden made of breath, a city of caresses.
We were making love, even though
it would disappear each time we made it
and have to be made over and over again,
the way God, abiding, renews the world,
every ragged leaf and leaf of it.
I admit I was making you, a man,
from dreams and spittle,
from the nothingness we both sprang out of.
I could visualize you packed
and ready to slice down the chute
of your mother
into this world of pain and plum trees,
waterfalls and volcanoes.
I had been waiting years for you, even in the rain.
We were making love,
melting ourselves down in that crucible
smooth, soaked, flushed, sparkling.
Already I’d forgotten what year it was.
Already I’d forgotten all the lovers who failed me
all those whom I had failed.
You don’t have to tell me now
how the floodwaters were already rising,
the house slipping
from its shaky foundations,
off-course meteors aiming
directly at the cleft in the valley of the heart.
How when I said I was willing
to throw everything into that fire,
the fire heard me and laughed.