Kendra Tanacea


Two by Marta Shmatava

Stand naked, centered in an empty room. Maintain
balance. Eyes closed. Arms at your sides.

Notes fill the space. Wait. Sweat collects
in the hollow of your throat. Footsteps

on thick pile. Over the music. Eyes still closed.
Every nerve plucked.

No clock, no time. Someone’s there. Don’t open
your eyes. A hand. A pair of lips finds yours.

Just stand still. Just a body with skin and goosebumps.
He’s watching you not moving.

Never open your eyes. Nothing to see.
He’s there. You know it, feeling the taking of open space.

A woman sings a foreign aria. A certain dampness of palms.
How many songs will play before he touches you?

                 After the touching, lie face down on the carpet.
He’s holding you down limb for limb. Not crushing you,

pinning down something ascending. A weightless body
needs pressure to know it exists, to keep you from rising,

vanishing. Harps, flutes, chords and keys.
Your eyes still closed. You do not want to know who

this man is, where this room is, where the music is coming from.
Turn your head to the side.  Breathe.


About the writer:
Kendra Tanacea attorney holds a BA in English from Wellesley College and an MFA in writing and literature from Bennington College. Her first collection of poetry, If You’re Lucky Nobody Gets Hurt, was a finalist for the Agnes Lynch Starrett Poetry Prize. A Filament Burns in Blue Degrees, published by Lost Horse Press, was a finalist for the Idaho Prize for Poetry. Kendra’s poems have appeared in Rattle, North American Review and Poet Lore, among others.

Image: Two by Marta Shmatava (1965-). Oil on canvas. 120 x 100 cm. 2012. By free license.