An exercise poem, written in the style of Edward Hirsch’s “For the Sleepwalkers,” and a companion piece to “In a Motel Room in Omaha” and “Transparent, But Not Invisible”.
For Your Hands
I want to say something sexy to you about
your hands, the memoirs of the choices
you’ve made, of the distance you’ve come
to gather me to you, to cup me in your palms,
to red-alert every square centimeter of my skin
with your battered and calloused fingers.
I wake to you asleep beside me,
lines smoothed, edges softened,
scars picked out in the moonlight
spangling off the water and illuminating you.
Erotic is one of those words that mean
Something different to everyone.
That’s why I want to say something erotic
like: I slowly curl your fingers until
your hand fits mine, bring it to my lips,
run my tongue over each spavined knuckle,
draw them one by one into my warm mouth,
make small-scale promises for when you wake.
No one would call your hands beautiful.
No one else, I should say, because I love
them as the scrapbooks they are of you:
A scar here, a carelessly-healed bone there,
the blood-won souvenirs you’ve collected
on your way home, set in tendon and muscle.