Today's poem is by Margot Schilpp

Taking Leave of My Senses

I want that, I think, when I see the slender body
of the model, the deer's white tail,

the hood ornament that glints
in the strong sun, day after day,

all the traffic of memory knotted
up in a big jam, resistant to weaving in

or out, standstill of the synapse,
standstill of the heart, the skipped beat

in a chamber of its own. Some things
just are: the seagull, the pocketbook,

the wrought iron gate around
the fierce heart. I want that, I think,

when I see you running up the path,
your world proportioned through earphones.

You're listening to Bach, or some torchy song
that brought a generation of women

to their silk-stockinged knees. You can't
always get what you want
, even if

it would bring a few hours of rapture.
I can't see the harm in imagining

tracing my tongue slowly up
the side of your neck or

for one small moment introducing
my hands to every inch of your back.

I can't see the danger in merely thinking
myself spread open and meeting you

on the downswings. The story is old:
two by two, Noah and his wife, all the animals

paired off and going gently
up the planks—the story is unlikely.

The doe was thinking of the ten-pointer
she'd passed in the woods.

The ewe was fixating on all the wool
she'd had to leave behind. The lion shook

his great mane into the wind, sniffed
the air for other possibilities.

This is my brief sedition. This is my
resistance to the order of things,

to what I thought of as the one
way my life could be lived, my body's

autonomic reaction against what I've agreed
to, for ever and always, my little

mutiny against the status quo
of hearing—at the toy store, in

the checkout lines, in galleries
and churches—the harsh whispers

of all our mothers saying,
You can look, just don't touch anything.

Copyright © 2005 Margot Schilpp All rights reserved
from Laws of My Nature
Carnegie Mellon University Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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