We watched a man making love to a woman in a manner
Of conventional intercourse on what could be called
A stage on a hot afternoon in Amsterdam breaths
Away from ours as we sat in what could be
Called the orchestra row the better seats in the room 

I paid the scene a visit I was transfixed by the fluidity
Of their conventional nudity her aura was being
Moved from him to her like a ball at a game
Of tennis we were witnesses not voyeurs
To an exchange to what is called love on a sound

Stage set to our acts of love they were engaged in an act
Of mechanics but they weren’t mechanical even though
Their familiarity said they did this on this stage with regularity
I won’t ever know if they were students who needed
The money sex performers or a couple doing it to get

Off in bare feet they walked on the rectangular 
Stage together holding each other’s nude
Hands moving like artists models are
Used to moving in borrowed skin
Through a space occupied by people

Until comfortably settling into their nudity
In a folding chair before a group of art grad students
You did not show any signs of arousal your lips
Had a color of extinction your hand out of lock
With mine you were as dispassionate

As the folding chair you sat
In on the short walk back to our luxury
Hotel I wondered why you took me
To a peep show the heat &
Unclean sweat that formed & reformed

On my skin & yours was met by the cool inside-air inside
Our room the bed wasn’t shaped like a square unlike
The stage the performers used for sex on it high-thread
Count sheets responded with a cool stiffness to the two
Bodies that fell & kept falling in and out of love

Stella Hayes is the author of One Strange Country (What Books Press, forthcoming in 2020). Originally from an agricultural town outside of Kiev, Ukraine, her work has appeared or is forthcoming in Prelude, Small Orange Journal, The Hunger, and Spillway.

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