Men were tan and strong, short, with proportioned limbs.
Dark hair, shoulders wide and arms powerful.
Bright eyes, curly lashes, mouths juicy
thick brows, noses sharply parting their face
solid bones under skin stretched like leather, shining like glass.
Yes, those men we loved and we longed for them.
From the sea they came men who were taller
whom we needed to look from down up
and they bent while reaching for us.
Those men made us feel small as if back in girlhood
strange and not necessarily good.
On their hands veins were blue under skin too pale, clear, too soft.
Blue were also their irises, color of distant skies.
Those eyes, said the wise old woman, will make you beg and cry
for they are made of ice as these men’s hearts are.
But their nipples were small and rosy, their hair was of gold.
Smooth thin lips, sometimes tense.
Some of us grew to like those strangers.
Some found them handsome soon, or just a bit later.
Some forgot of everything that looked and tasted different.
Some, believe it or not, fell in love with those huge wide clarities
those cool wildernesses.
Those limbs smelling of musk and heather
those chests full of winter nights
Toti O’Brien’s work has most recently appeared in Sandy River Review, Colorado Boulevard, Typehouse Magazine, and Biostories.
Photo by: Ana Prundaru