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Through Poem-a-Day, we present original, previously unpublished poems by our country's most talented poets throughout the week and classic poems on the weekends. 

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A Touch

About this Poem 

“Since moving to Oklahoma, and away from the rivers by which I have always oriented, I became interested in dryness—drought, dams, also prohibitions about alcohol. My morning run is along the Arkansas, a river which often holds no water at all, but somehow I have come to love seeing what is laid bare there, and, because the state sells 3.2 beer at room temperature, I have begun to make my own cocktails, another new pleasure. How strangely happy I am, so: this poem of concession.”
Rose McLarney

A Touch

Rose McLarney

We rinse the glasses
from which we will drink

affordable whiskey
with scotch or absinthe,

my love and I, the less than
a swallow left of good

liquor scenting the whole
cocktail. What intoxication

we afford each other
cannot be excess or impure.

*

A dried-out, overused river
runs through, or rather,

idles in, our small city
where we never intended to settle.

Birds alight on odorous pools stranded
between mudflats, a baptism

in reverse—the body that enters
proclaiming the water clean.

They dip down plumed heads
to say this is enough.

*

The pigeons, so adaptable, delight
in dropped scraps. While we—

however many lovers late in life
—rub the rims of Sazeracs

with an orange’s remaining peel,
arousing a perfume.

Copyright © 2014 by Rose McLarney. Used with permission of the author.

Copyright © 2014 by Rose McLarney. Used with permission of the author.