Coming Up for Air

 

She makes him taste of tarragon,
olive oil, black pepper.
He does not rinse his beard.
He wants to wear it

into the warm street like a lit flume.
People gull around his wake,
scenting his beard
comb the line of hers.

A man with rolled sleeves
sniffs and wants to plunge
his tongue
but, through a window, a cab driver

draws breath, tasting
how he waited on
her nipple.
In the foyer, a clerk’s hand

floats over keys,
watching lift-numbers
kiss up her ribs, back down.
The lift fills with pepper

and tarragon. He parts the way,
his beard glowing like her olive
glow, he licks spiced lips
and remembers: goes in.