Julinha Cardoso

Sex Poem: Castles of New England, Scotland, and Wales

One trails her fingerpad across the square swell of two keys, A-U. Australia is always the search engine’s first guess at what you’re seeking. What you see in A-M -erica is the beauty queen, the popularity contest victor, the money-married. I wonder if you ever feel forgotten by this place; whether you have considered that your own A-U never crosses the red, white, and blue consciousness during the average, lucky day; those void of war and death and thus, headlines.

(My own fingers roam unsuccessfully for the coast of my own C-U,

the cliffs of my C-U-N—oh, I am teasing!

I mean to say: my C-U-B-A)

Maybe this—along with those of ruined bed linens or that single strand of my hair trapped against your sticky lip—is a thread we share. ‘No news is good news’ is a phrase inherited from a king obsessed with finding witches.

The Daily News will never applaud the man on the A Train who begged enough pocket change to afford supper three hours before suppertime.

And a.m. will never celebrate the lovers who finally share a quiver, bodies pressed together like sorceress to stake.

Avenues upon avenues away from the Times, we share a correspondence that isn’t typed or handwritten but unseen, mouthed in warm puffs as your index finger nudges the flag above the Austrian embassy on East 69th: its red is particularly honest, a fluid, waving monument to a bloodshed. Your hand may as well be around my throat, pulling me towards a crime scene I needn’t know but now can’t forget. There is a word for this—the search engine knows its poems, its quotes, its rosy glitter graphics particularly well. Yet I’d rather imagine our American halves coming together like a set of cheap imported friendship necklaces from a quarter machine. The gears click in union. A fertile plastic egg enters the chute. One of us puts her hand inside, grasping eagerly.

When housekeeping finds your honest menses in the wings of the Waldorf-Astoria—that withering edifice, its UN ambassadors asleep in their suites, groaning and bleeding right along with us—handprinted to sheets and carpeting, the sort of mess made worse as pulses better—

—will they ring the police? And will they sell their report to the Post? Is it close enough to death? Will we be news? Or no news.

th us—h

The slick, messy touch, the being from elsewhere while within her (not within me, but A-M -erica): both place us in direct contact with our barrenness.