So you’re being a Good Citizen and engaging in social distancing. You’ve been working from home, listening to music, eating up all of your quarantine snacks, annoying your pet who has no option but to watch you march around in your most natural form. We’re all having a hard time right now, and that includes your lesbian lover, who is working from home and watching you binge Tiger King instead of looking at her. I get it, worrying about whether the strange tingle in your lungs is psychosomatic or not is probably killing the mood at home. Maybe you’re not in the space to do a little romancin’, but I have just the thing to get you in the right headspace to do so, because I, relationship expert and irresistible paramour, have the answer. The answer for me, like it almost always is, is poetry. Read your lesbian lover poetry during one of those nights when the only thing you can hear in the apartment is the soft rustle of your plants, the mewling of your cat ignoring you from the next room. Read her these poems to light a fire between the two of you, show her how much you care and how much you know about poetry beyond some dead white men (flex on that hoe!)
Here I have 11 poems of varying lengths that you can read to your lesbian lover with that expensive wood wick candle flickering on the bedside table. You can pick and chose which ones you will read or my favorite, read them all in a rush as the sexual tension mounts and then get to business. These poems are sure to bring you closer than you already are for a moment and keep you smirking at your desk when its time to work again. They are also just a great way of showing appreciation for your lesbian lover and that even at the worst of times, the love between you continues to flower.
The Floating Poem Unnumbered – Adrienne Rich
Whatever happens with us, your body
will haunt mine—tender, delicate
your lovemaking, like the half-curled frond
of the fiddlehead fern in forests
just washed by sun. Your traveled, generous thighs
between which my whole face has come and come—
This is one of Rich’s more popular poems, one many a poet has come to rely on in moments of deep intimacy. I myself have used this poem more than once to great results (the result is sex). It is both delicate and forward and will do a wonderful job of getting the point across that isolation has made you horny as hell and ready to bone at any moment. It is notoriously hard to write sex well but somehow poets get it, especially Rich. Maybe the secret is brevity and a lust for language equal to that of lust for the human form. Poets are unnaturally good at straddling the line between coy and blunt, in this particular fragment of the poem we have the soft image of a fiddlehead poised against the very stark image of a head between thighs. Show off by showing your babe you know who Adrienne Rich is but also read a lot of poetry in your spare time.
Want – Joan Larkin
I want words like lasers. She wants a mother’stenderness. Touch ancient as the river.I want a woman’s wit swift as a fox.She’s in her city, meetingher deadline; I’m in my mill village out latewith the dog, listening to the pinging wind bells, thinkingof the twelve years of wanting, apart and together.We’ve kissed all weekend; we wantto drive the hundred miles and try it again.
Summoning the Body That Is Mine When I Shut My Eyes – Jenny Johnson
Come strumming an unspeakable power ballad
Through a torrent of rain with cheeks flushed scarlet
Come down the rusty metal slide
Come belted kingfisher flapping
Come lavender asters wheeling
Come loose, a sapling lengthening
Come honeysuckle Come glistening
For me this poem is just brimming with delight and sexiness. I personally theorize that honeysuckle is the most poetic and sexual flower next to the orchid and I always feel delighted to see it in a poem. This collection is full of gorgeous poems and this one is especially saccharine. “In Full Velvet” highlights the queer experience from confronting violence to experiencing BDSM displays on Folsom. Read this to your lesbian lover after she’s had a hard day, run her a nice little bath after you’ve prepared a meal of the finest goods from your grocery haul. Top off the night with a hot oil massage and end with this poem. The title evokes summoning so make sure to read it like your reading incantations, slow and growing with each line.
When I Touched Her – Toi Derricotte
for the lips swelled, a dark
fruit bloomed under my
fingers. I could not
breathe with my hand there.
This poem perfectly encapsulates what it feels like to touch a woman for the first time, and when it’s good it feels like the first time every time. For the poems that can’t be linked online, I’ve linked a place to buy the full collection from, and you will want to buy this full collection. “When I Touched Her” is a tender surprise nestled in a work that deals with the complicated relationship with the “I” in poetry, as well as the ways abuse and cruelties can shape that “I”. So this, poem, its awe and appreciation, will be felt by both the reader and the listener. This is a great one to read after sex or when you’ve both had an especially hard day and need to remember one of the sweeter moments in your relationship, the first time you got to be together physically. It’s also especially good for your long-distance lover who you’ve been wanting to be closer to
Waist and Sway – Natalie Diaz
Wanting her was so close to prayer–
I should not. But it was July
and in a city where desire means, Upstairs
we can break each other open
the single blessing I had to give was Mouth–
so gave and gave I did.
Again we revisit the ancient lesbian art of wanting, for who among us is unfamiliar with the territory. Diaz’s poem is almost sinful in its delight and devotion, it aches to be broken open and explored. What better place to explore than with your lesbian lover whose name is probably Kat with a K. Read this poem over a glass of wine in comfy pajamas with a peek of lingerie beneath just in case. Or read it in the kitchen over a cup of coffee as the sun warms your faces through a charmingly bespeckled window. Poetry is the most inviting and inventive way to say the things your heart needs to say but that your mind can’t properly conceive of. It is a kind of language of its own. Where else can we be magic and vulnerable but in a poem?
hoping for love
for when I look at you face to face
not even Hermione can compare
and it is no slight to liken you
to golden Helen.
mortal omen; and know this
from all my cares
awake all night.
What would this list be without a poem from the OG, the one we do it all for, Mz. Sappho. Sappho’s writing mostly exists in fragments so it’s hard to find full poems, but this fragment is one of my favorites and could be a poem on its own. Sappho was just so… gay, its incredible. You can just see her looking at this beautiful woman and comparing her to one of the most stunning women in history! Talk about game, if Sappho was a 2020 lesbian she’d totally be a fuckboi poet that beds lots of women, breaks up with them, and text them months later a poem she wrote when they were still in love. You, on the other hand, don’t have to be 2020 Sappho; you can be yourself, a sweetheart who is reading this wondering how you’re gonna make it through another few more weeks(?) months(?) of social distancing. Read this poem in the morning when you’re both still in shared or separate beds, it will certainly make her blush.
Poem for My Love – June Jordan
How do we come to be here next to each otherin the nightWhere are the stars that show us to our loveinevitable
Recreation – Audre Lorde
you create me against your thighshilly with imagesmoving through our word countriesmy bodywrites into your fleshthe poemyou make of me.
Love Poem to a Butch Women – Deborah A. Miranda
Sweetheart, this is how it is:when you emerge from the bedroomin a clean cotton shirt, sleeves pushed backover forearms, scented with colognefrom an amber bottle—I want to openmy heart, the brightest aching slitof my soul, receive your pearl.
Orange Grove and a View of the Pacific – Alicia Mountain
Lily in a belly shirt before
one of us took it off.
This used to be a dress,
she said, I made it.
Lily’s hair falls in the way
famous people move
This poem is just lovely; the images and the language are incredibly romantic, the final lines hit like satin over your shoulders. Mountain is just an exceptional poet whose exploration of the written word feels so good on your tongue. Reading this poem out loud is a wonderful experience that deserves to be shared with another woman. Read this one while taking a break from work, have your lesbian lover read it back to you, talk to each other about the feeling of reading it. You both can revel in the gift that language is, that we have words to describe the way hair falls and how much we mean to one another.
Fig – Dani Janae
What my mouth means when
it opens is that I want to eat you
alive; to say “touch me”
without all the hesitance.
Yes, this is my poem, yes I did include it on this list. Why exactly? Because I’m a lesbian so this is a lesbian poem and it’s all about want and craving someone you can’t have for whatever reasons. These reasons can include being in a global pandemic and having to stay six feet away from other humans, or that she’s already in a relationship with another woman if you’re me. The main reason I included this poem is because it works. I’ve had many lesbians and queer women approach me after it’s publication to tell me they read this to their lesbian lovers and got some action out of it. If your love language is physical touch this poem is sure to get those fires burning.