Though no on has touched her, her eyes have a beaten
stone’s polish—obsidian, faceted in skin, cold cover to
                         a hot center woman.

She lets the first line of song pass
            savors a swig off a juniper spirit.
Missing teeth, the gin glosses her lower lip
            where the words will come,
shining bright as red neon flashing
            vacancy. We wait for the band

to bring her next entrance, anxious
            for what might fall out. Her top sags
with the weight of breasts. We can see nipple
            twitching with her heart’s palpitations,
She swallows liquor,

swivels her cup. Ice claps for absence.
            She looks for the more in none. Gags
on the song lodged in her throat.
            Uses tongue to hollow out
all the vowels found in consonants until
            nothing sung is of language.

Her voice is a wide pit.
            In an open sore she offers windows into
what we are made of. Infectious body,
            red flood frothing at the wells gate. We’d burn
our own skin off to put hers on. At the end
            of every song, we beg for her
make us the singer
                  make us the killer and not the kill.

“Duende” previously appeared in Third Wednesday.

See Nicelle Davis’ poet page on the New York Quarterly or follow her on Twitter.