In a Motel Room in Omaha

(for John)

This morning your hands closed on me in tenderness.
Tonight I watch you wrap them in layered tape,
Wincing white building like snow on a steppe,
And I still feel them on my arms, in my hair, on my breasts.
We need the money, you say, and stroke my face.
It’s just tonight. Your clever fingers graze my nape.
I shiver at the promise and the bindings’ rasping scrape
And turn with a moan to throw my arms around your waist.
All in all, I’d rather we were in Paris — or hell, in Hoboken —
But I’ll whisper the mantra: Win, get the money, run,
And leave the things I want to say to you unspoken.
Just before dawn you’ll say, when it’s all said and done
And I’m driving because you’ve got two more knuckles broken,
That even Nebraska is worth fighting for to someone.

(2012)

This is a Petrarchan sonnet. It is a companion piece to “For Your Hands” and “Transparent, But Not Invisible“.

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