You Ask Why Sometimes I Say Stop
by Marge Piercy
You ask why sometimes I say stop
why sometimes I cry no
while I shake with pleasure.
What do I fear, you ask,
why don't I always want to come
and come again to that molten
deep sea center where the nerves
fuse open and the brain
and body shine with a black wordless light
fluorescent and heaving like plankton.
If you turn over the old refuse
of sexual slang, the worn buttons
of language, you find men
talk of spending and women
You come in a torrent and ease
into limpness. Pleasure takes me
farther and farther from the shore
in a series of breakers, each
towering higher before it
crashes and spills flat.
I am open then as a palm held out,
open as a sunflower, without
crust, without shelter, without
skin, hideless and unhidden.
How can I let you ride
so far into me and not fear?
Helpless as a burning city,
how can I ignore that the extremes
of pleasure are fire storms
that leave a vacuum into which
dangerous feelings (tenderness,
affection, l o v e) may rush
like gale force winds.