you photographed me
exposed, image of your arm
outstretched clenching my neck
squeezing cluster of wind where life
leaning back I said, “keep the one
where you hold me by the neck,”
I do not refuse the deprivation
I welcome it.
do not unleash my body
resigned above yours — desperately
waiting for your inviting intrusion
as your crescent fingers wrap the air
and deliver “I love you.”
save that one, an image of me
where your knuckled grip holds
the power I invite, a faculty I possess
I am certain…
and as you thrust your ideas around
filling me with monstrous hunger
circling the cavernous leaflets
of my naked body, and this deep forest
you roam then retreat from
with all faculties formed pleasing
as you fall to the ground, to its end.
and your acid flinching gaze
with a slight tug — pulls me in
reopens me again — back
as I am about to fall
asleep. under your spell,
under your command, bare
and dreaming on my feet, I walk
my dreams too deep
into the wretched ground
where worms feast at my failed hopes
burrow in my ripe sex
woefully eat at my naked breast
then slither in my exposed mouth.
underneath your black breath
are ample sounding moans
where I — your metaphor
used as cylinder for good measure
used my body to advance your experiment
for a trick that might work.
you might say I am out of order
you might say, “should I persist
to evoke — summon you
from the underground?” I say,
“what if I tied a rope around your neck?
wrestling, assumed you are there to hurt.”
you smile — spreading my arms
across our sea bed, face in deep
you ask if I beg to surrender
turning over in this abysmal vault
I motion yes to your desire.
Leah Kogen-Elimeliah is a poet, essayist, short story, and nonfiction writer from Moscow, currently living in New York. She earned her MFA from City College of New York where she is currently an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the English Department. Founder and Director of WordShedNYC Reading Series and an Editorial Associate for Fiction literary magazine. Leah has collaborated on various poetry/visual/dance projects with independent artists, experimenting with cross genres, multimedia, and poetry. She's read her work on The Red Stage organized by Creative Time, The NYC Poetry Festival, The Higher Ground Arts Festival, and was selected as a Public Humanities/Arts Graduate Fellow for the Zip Code Memory Project supported by Columbia, CCNY, NYU, Yale and the Social Science & Humanities Research Council. She is a mentor with Girls Write Now, a nationally award winning leader in arts education writing and mentoring organization. Her writing focuses on identity, language, immigration, intergenerational trauma, sexuality, and culture. Leah lives in Nyack, NY with her husband and their children.