Such pleasure one needs to make for oneself.
She has snipped the paltry forsythia
to force the bloom, has cut each stem on
the slant and sprinkled brown sugar in a vase,
so the wintered reeds will take their water.
It hurts her to do this but she does it.
When are we most ourselves, and when the least?
Last night, the man in the recessed doorway,
homeless or searching for something, or sought—
all he needed was one hand and quiet.
The city around him was one small room.
He leaned into the dark portal, gray
shade in a door, a shadow of himself.
His eyes were closed. His rhythm became him.
So we have shut our eyes, as dead or as
other, and held the thought of another
whose pleasure is need, face over a face ...
It hurts her to use her hands, to hold
a cup or bud or touch a thing. The doctors
have turned her burning hands in their hands.
The tests have shown a problem, but no cause,
a neuropathology of mere touch.
We have all made love in the dark, small room
of such need, without shame, to our comfort,
our compulsion. I know I have. She has.
We have held or helped each other, sometimes
watching from the doorway of a warm house
where candletips of new growth light the walls,
the city in likeness beyond, our hands
on the swollen damp branch or bud or cup.
Sometimes we are most ourselves when we are
least, or hurt, or lost, face over a face—.
You have, too. It's your secret, your delight.
You smell the wild scent all day on your hand.
|From Changeable Thunder by David Baker. Copyright © 2001 by David Baker. Appears with permission of the University of Arkansas Press. All rights reserved.|