11 Poems to Read to Your Lesbian Lover in Isolation

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—

read here 

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’s
tenderness.  Touch ancient as the river.
I want a woman’s wit swift as a fox.
She’s in her city, meeting
her deadline; I’m in my mill village out late
with the dog, listening to the pinging wind bells, thinking
of the twelve years of wanting, apart and together.
We’ve kissed all weekend; we want
to drive the hundred miles and try it again.
This one is for when your lesbian lover is not isolated with you. Whether she’s in an apartment a mile away or states away, or maybe just in the other room. This poem captures one of the lesbians most treasured past times: yearning. Its a poem fraught with want, and calls the reader to appreciate the small intricacies of what makes a home including the people we love in them. I’ve never done the long-distance thing with a woman but have had a girlfriend go on vacation without me and Larkin captures the unbridled yearning to be together so starkly, the phrase “twelve years of wanting” puts it so vividly into the readers’ heart. Read this poem over a FaceTime call or one of those Zoom meetings to make things even more intimate. You don’t have to worry about your lack of clothes because your lesbian lover will be glad to see you in whatever you have to offer.

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

read here

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.

buy here 

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.

buy here

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?

Sappho Fragment

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

dewy banks

awake all night.

buy here 

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 other
in the night
Where are the stars that show us to our love
To be read right before bed. After a nice bath or shower, sitting together in bed or in your separate bedrooms. A poem that has a much calmer energy than many of the others on this list. It has a slow sweetness that pools in the ending, bringing the reader to a calming breath. I was first introduced to June Jordan as a poet by someone I would take turns reading to. I would read her poems and she would read me random textbooks, it was an incredibly tender exchange that I miss having in my life. She is now one of the poets I revere and look upon with great regard, who’s work challenges colonial and white supremacist notions of what love looks like.

Recreation – Audre Lorde

you create me against your thighs
hilly with images
moving through our word countries
my body
writes into your flesh
the poem
you make of me.
A poem to be read after sex, still in bed and warm with each other’s body heat. It is about coming together, the becoming that happens between two people who are eternally connected. It is a great poem that celebrates the glory of a body and the glory of the body of work that is poetry. One of the greatest minds of our time, as a poet, Lorde is equally as dynamic and vital in her words and expressions. Recreation takes us into one of the most private moments and makes us see without feeling like voyeurs, in fact, makes us appreciate similar moments in our own lives even more.

Love Poem to a Butch Women – Deborah A. Miranda

 Sweetheart, this is how it is:
when you emerge from the bedroom
in a clean cotton shirt, sleeves pushed back
over forearms, scented with cologne
from an amber bottle—I want to open
my heart, the brightest aching slit
of my soul, receive your pearl.
One thing you need to know about me is that I love a woman’s forearms, like love. My friend Nick teases me about how I will choose any common trait and obsess over it. These lines of the poem struck me in the throat as I imagined the action of a woman rolling up her sleeves. I’m a professional thirster; forgive me as I transcribe my fantasies here. The bottom line is butch women don’t get enough good love poems, and this one is a triumph. Read this to your little butch while playing with her hair and sipping tea on the couch after the day has come to a close. She’ll appreciate being seen and also being the one that is wooed and romanced a little for a change.

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
their bodies.

read here 

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.

read here

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.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!


Dani Janae is a poet and writer based out of Pittsburgh, PA. When she's not writing love poems for unavailable women, she's watching horror movies, hanging with her tarantula, and eating figs. Follow Dani Janae on Twitter and on Instagram.

danijanae has written 157 articles for us.


  1. I can’t wait to savor these with my partner <3

    Also props to you for including your own poem! I'm all about queers and women being proud of their own work and accomplishments and sharing them with the world.

  2. Having just read mountain shadows by Patrica and being the principal of Lake Placid Middle/High School,
    All I have to say is “Wow! What a Book!” I look forward to having Brooks speak at a dinner meeting of our Adirondack Book Club,
    A group of male community leaders. In the past, we have heard from Russell Banks and Brian Mann.
    Brooks will also speak to several classes of history students, where Mountain Shadows is assigned reading.

Contribute to the conversation...

Yay! You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated by the guidelines laid out in our comment policy. Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation and thanks for stopping by!