It turns out the word “fornicate” used to mean
an arched or vaulted form, as if two bodies
bent by heat could carry the weight of the sky.
One root suggests “brothel,” another means
a “domed shape” or “covered way.” Roman
prostitutes solicited business under the arches
of certain buildings which is why one of the
Bible’s authors linked the location to adultery.
I’d ask him about the importance of contact,
skin to skin, the manner in which we most
reveal ourselves. I’d ask him if he knew how to
define love or the four elements of a fractured
selfhood. I’d tell him: we are poisoned through
our mouths, the center of half our sins. Without
evidence we don’t really know what we know.
How far will we fall? As far as language allows.
Until recently, SM Stubbs co-owned a bar in Brooklyn. Recipient of a scholarship to Bread Loaf; nominated for the Pushcart and Best New Poets; winner of the 2019 Rose Warner Poetry Prize from The Freshwater Review. His work has appeared in numerous magazines, including Poetry Northwest, Puerto del Sol, Carolina Quarterly, New Ohio Review, Iron Horse Literary Review, Crab Creek Review, December, and The Rumpus.
© Variant Literature Inc 2021