Armpits

cuddle

My wife knows my anatomy so well
Better than the diaper I wore or my mom
Who cleaned me when I pushed out little solid particles
What she knows best are my armpits
The sparsely vegetated thickets
That have two seasons – the wet monsoon
When Axe or Old Spice leave tiny aerosols
As dew drops waiting to unhinge and space out in air
And the dry season
When bacteria proliferate and make
A perfume seemingly a little musty
And more sweaty, like a miasmas rising
Through the mangroves

And she knows that the right is less pungent
And the left is more like a durian
Ripened by bacterial cells
As secondary metabolites leak
Out through cell pores sprinkling odor

And when she clasps me in playtime, her nostrils
Are awakened to my armpit stench
Yet she will hold me, reclined in bed
Or even standing up bipedal
Knowing that no deodorant can replace
My own microbe-filled wilderness

After all, the miasma inside my armpits
Are where one finds lymph-glands draining to the heart
Where my most primal immunity lies
And when she plucks my armpit hairs for fun
Or tickles my under-arms
I know that the immunity goes away – in very quick time

And my armpits become a sweat shop
Making gallons of sweat, as she clutches me
With the grip of god, calling forth his name
In flesh-wave and hosanna

And a little later, my arms are still wrapping her
Now though as serene as a lake
Her head lying gently under my armpits
And we gaze together at the ceiling
As if stars dapple on ebony boards
And we are still hopelessly stargazing
In our own star-lit wonderland

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Author: meandererworld (Dilantha Gunawardana)

Dr Dilantha Gunawardana is a molecular biologist who graduated from the University of Melbourne. He moonlights as a poet. His poems have been accepted/published in Forage, American Journal of Poetry, Kitaab, Eastlit and Ravens Perch. He mixes science with poetry for a living, when what matters is the expression of both DNA and words into something serendipitous. Although an Australian citizen, Dilantha is domiciled in Sri Lanka, his country of birth.

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