“How Shall I Touch You Unless It Is Everywhere?”

September 8, 2017

—Mary Oliver, “The Gardens”         

 

 

“That tickles,” she tells me,

flinching, tugging my hand

away from blue lines

tattooed on her calf.

 

Not that I want her to twitch

or dance a frantic twist

from her prone position

belly-down on clean violet sheets.

 

I like to touch artwork

like holding a new book,

its unbroken spine, glossy

cover stock alight in embers,

 

orange-red, its scents

of glue & fresh ink

I smell on my fingertips

an hour later

 

as I will her concoctions of lemon,

honey, lavender. Not to say

I won’t spend time

staring at bare walls

 

behind the bends of her knees.

Sometimes I prefer to feel

the colors in my hands

like I’m holding an artist’s

 

rendition of the Milky Way,

scanning stars & gases,

searching for the arrow:

There you are.

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