Image taken from Flickr user Jeremy Segrott

Here now under the accumulating pile of ash from when the cathedrals lay down and rain wrote itself across the sky.

Drawn across the strings how can you, sing blue thread into pools spooling.

Ghost lover rejoin me. Sense me and send me rejoin me.

Danger the thundering chords that bind you.

Mouth meeting a mouth, in the cold, outside. In a public place, a street corner perhaps.

And desperate because there is no time. You have an appointment, he has a train to catch.

Drenched in the ink from the letters, soaked in it, spattered across chest and neck, pooling in the hollow of the clavicle.

Disappearance of words, each one a black bird written against the storm-grey sky.

Cathedral of rain unspooling blue from the sky. Mark me with rain. Spill all the words.

Mouth meeting a mouth, in the cold, outside. In a public place, a street corner perhaps.

Pieced through or pierced.

A letter written on the page in white ink, confessing everything, declaring everything.

More likely a thousand letters, each written on top of the other on the skin of my chest and stomach, the small brush licking me, licking me.

Rain rushing down the steps of rue des Eaux for the river. A bronze statue of John the Bapstist, rain and river mixing around his feet.

Who am I. Who I once was or who I wanted to be.

Every day I ask for signs every day I fail to see.

Rubbed the inkstone with the wet brush. Light wash of ink. Crisp letters. Spell out the story of your last desire in every space. Choruses of light and languor.

Soft feathery touch on my skin, ink brush or tongue, sand drizzled over. Ash.

How do you linger, what do you hear. The low box in the resonant harp.

Blue and grey and white reaching down in strings and rivulets, wet upon you.

Wet upon you wonder, a picture drawn slick in lines.

Who am I. Who I once was or who I wanted to be.

Shorn after the storm, streets wet with asters and deletions. Rain still ringing in your ears.

Charmed by the sky’s seduction.

His tongue in my mouth, wind on my body or water. Warm in the moment after the storm.

Rain drying on the paving stones. Rain-soaked leaves in drifts along the streets.

Haven’t you seen my palm where it’s written the twenty-seven stars, lines crossing each other.

Even as he pulls away to run for his train, I fling the thought after him: I want you to press yourself against me, write this minute into my skin.

From rue des Eaux to the Trocadero Gardens I run as the sky begins again its overture.

It is a failure. I am soaked. I slow down to walk.

It is a failure. I am soaked. I slow down to walk.

On the bridge, under his improvised awning, in the half-rain, among the umbrella hawkers and scattered sunbeams, a portrait painter sits, waiting.

Will I sit? He asks me, the rain already intensifying its demand, streaking down my face, my neck, into my shirt, along my chest, my wet stomach, down below my waist.

And if there is ash and rain mixed with ink how will you draw a face or body, quivering in time, a day drenched a person become another.

Write the rain, I beg him. Write it on me with your mouth.


The Kiss is a bimonthly series curated by Brian Turner.

The Kiss: Intimacies from Writers is available from Norton in February 2018.

Kazim Ali

Kazim Ali's most recent books include Sky Ward, Resident Alien, and Wind Instrument. He teaches at Oberlin College and can be found at

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