This week in the PEN Poetry Series, PEN America features an excerpt from Sylvie Baumgartel’s debut poetry collection, Song of Songs, out this week from Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. 


from Song of Songs

I’m eating a chickpea salad in the rain, sitting on my countertop. Watching the red digital numbers on the stove clock shimmer. I am I am I am yours, I am I am I am. Yours.

I’m your girl unprotected. I climb inside you to get inside myself. I love you.

Last night, you were an enormous rattlesnake. You inserted your tail deep up into my pussy and shook your rattle tail. I just read that Cleopatra filled a gourd with angry bees to make a vibrator.

I’m squatting for you in my bathroom. Naked, freshly bathed. Wanting you deeper inside, please, deeper, deeper.

In my dream last night, I made you fresh pasta. I cut shapes out of the noodles. Stars, flowers, designs to make your pasta pretty. I held up the holes for you to look through. Through each one, you saw a magic world. Like those sugar Easter eggs that have tiny scenes inside. You saw castles, rose gardens, snow-capped peaks, palaces, temples, animals and beasts, endless flowers and fruit trees, streams, birds, fountains. You told me about each thing you saw. It made me cry it was so beautiful, so beautiful how you described to me what you saw. You were breathing on me while I slept. Breathing breathing breathing inside me. Making me dream, breathing into me sweet dreams.

In one of the worlds you saw through a little star-hole, you told me about a wolf who found a girl in a field. She was making a wreath of flowers. She lifted up her dress and petticoat and held her ass high in the air for the wolf. He licked and licked and licked her asshole.

I’m inside your mouth looking at your teeth.

Good morning, Master. I shat for you in my Sunday best. I’m making French toast and fruit salad. In my white garter belt and nude stockings. I want to do something for you while I am cooking breakfast.

I crawled to the shower and lifted my leg and pissed on the shower wall for you like a dog. About to fuck the door. After I came on the door wall, I rubbed my cunt back and forth on the lid of the toilet. Like I sometimes do on the doorknob. And the desk.

I’m bowing to you and showing you my asshole. I’m kissing the floor and thanking you.

You just took me on a very fast walk. You were attempting to walk off some of my puppy energy so I behave just slightly better indoors. I had to trot trot trot to keep up with you. In addition to being my master holding my leash, you were the enormous snowflakes tumbling from the sky landing on my outstretched tongue. Then, all of a sudden, you were the sun piercing through the clouds and being very bright and warm on my outstretched tongue. When there’s sunshine and rain at the same time, they say the devil’s beating his wife. So when there’s snow and sunshine at the same time, God must be beating his beloved. I was wearing a necklace that I don’t wear often, and usually over a shirt or dress so it doesn’t touch my skin. But today it was on my bare neck and chest under my coat. The silver flowers were poking and digging into me. It hurt until I remembered that it’s not a necklace, but your collar on me, and those aren’t flowers, but spikes on my collar. Then it felt good. Then I felt you tighter, closer, and I wanted to get on my knees in the street and say please, Master, please please please please PLEASE until I come for you, because feeling you like that was feeling my cunt open for you, my cunt wet for you, my body arched back back for you, the pain of the spikes in my skin making the ecstasy in my cunt all the greater. All the more for you, you, my love and my master.

I’m waking up. God is howling between my legs. Between my legs pulling on my new hair. The hair that’s growing for God. I’m sleepy and squirming. Moving my hips. Moving my hips. Rubbing my eyes moving my hips.



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