Today's poem is by Timothy Kelly

The Eroticised World

We passed, on the wetlands boardwalk,
through stands of cattail higher than our heads,
clacking and nodding, dry as October corn.
And the flitting and whistles within them were
redwings, no question, though we saw, in
the end, only two: slanted crimson shoulder
blaze, the conk-a ree and trailing buzzy trill.

And I, still raw then from the ferocious
novelty of our lovemaking, couldn't see the reed
sway, or the taut blackberries, or the heron's
neck coiled to stab, without reaching for you,
hand feeling back as the chattering kingfisher
spiraled down like a dropped package, plunged
in, exploded out, the plucked herring, dime-
silver, half-swallowed, clamped in his beak.

Mornings I'd study the curve of your arm
because I was dissecting an arm, the long
forearm muscles tapering to ribbony tendon,
each gathered at the wrist's cinch like stems
through the neck of a vase. I was coming to

understand how fingers worked: the balanced
mechanics, tensioned lines, tracked pulleys,
and action fine and subtle enough to cover a
lover's touch, sliver's end, concise Chopin
etudes. Now, at work, I take a damaged hand

in mine and move it slowly, repeatedly,
through patterns it can no longer do itself. And
the patient will watch the odd choreography
sourly, as if not wishing to be reminded of that
language, that flown ease and fluency, of what
his larking touch once, unencumbered, could do.

Copyright © 2008 Timothy Kelly All rights reserved
from The Extremities
Oberlin College Press
Reprinted by Verse Daily® with permission

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