Posts tagged "poem"
Your mouth is like wrapping paper
hiding the gift—your words—beneath.
You are quiet, keeping your secrets
like one of those bows that won’t untie or an unseen piece of tape.
Most tough presents are opened with scissors and eager hands.
You—you I’ll open with a kiss.
I don’t remember my first taste of chocolate,
and I don’t remember my first trip down a slide.
I don’t remember the first time I tied my shoes,
and I don’t remember the first time I cried.
But I remember the first time I kissed you:
our teeth clicked, and we laughed at our clumsy love.
But that first kiss didn’t need to be perfect;
we knew it would be followed by many more.
Clever girls look for clever boys
but never seem to find them.
Clever boys look for daft girls
and find plenty.
I don’t want a daft girl.
I’ve retired from looking.
I’m blindfolded, tied to a chair,
waiting for a clever girl to find me.
You divide me into fourths.
The first voice demands that I dive
into your dark orbs,
that I become a permanent part
of your gaze.
The second voice begs that I blow
like a breeze through your hair,
that I nest my soul
in its warmth.
The third voice just laughs
and laughs and laughs
that I claimed to know love
before we met.
The fourth voice warns
that time is short,
that I must let you know
every second is yours.
I remembered this walk I took in the woods as a boy.
I was with my father, and he carried a rifle.
This was unusual: not the walk, but the rifle.
My father is a strong but gentle man.
We lived in an old house, and in the winter months,
we set traps for mice. On cold mornings, I would watch
my father check the traps and carefully discard the catch—
too carefully, really, for something that was already dead.
He would never say anything, but I would see it:
a real and definite sadness on his face.
The morning before we took this walk, he found the rifle
under his bed. He was surprised, as one should be
when discovering a forgotten thing like that
had been so close to one’s sleeping head.
When he first showed it to me, it was dusty and terrible.
He cleaned it, and then it was shiny and terrible.
The rifle had belonged to his father—
another strong but gentle man I never met—
and it had not fired in over two decades.
He brought it with him on this walk.
He didn’t say why, but I think he wanted to relive
a memory he had of his father, and I was happy
to play my role in such a reenactment.
As we walked, he carried it lazily,
and I quickly lost my boyish interest for all things terrible
when i realized he had no intention of using it.
As we crunched through the quiet, my father joked
we would never see another living thing
if I insisted on being as loud as an elephant.
And then it happened, as if in answer to my father’s joke:
before us, in a small clearing, lie a fawn,
white spotted and small. So small.
Without thought, I rushed towards it,
but after just two steps, I felt my father’s hand on my shoulder.
My excitement crumbled when I felt the tension in his hand;
the tension told me what he was thinking:
Why aren’t you running away?
My father looked down at me, and he tried to tell me
something with his eyes, but I didn’t understand.
Suddenly, we were inches from it, and I was on my knees.
I looked into its eyes, and it looked into mine,
and I felt it was trying to tell me something—
just like my father had—but I didn’t understand.
My father sighed in a heavy way, his heavy way—
his disappointed sigh that I will always remember him by—
and then I too saw the fawn’s twisted leg.
No, not twisted. It was destroyed.
At first, I didn’t even understand that it was a leg.
There was no blood, but the shape was all wrong.
It looked flexible like a piece of rope.
And I was overcome with something, and I reached out
and placed my hands on the fawn’s body.
Never had I felt something so soft.
It made my mother’s skin seem like sand paper;
it made my down pillow seem like a sack of rocks.
No one had ever felt something this soft.
I exhaled loudly and realized I had not been breathing.
I remember thinking how odd it was that it did not
move or make a noise when I touched it,
and I turned to my father, confused.
He had the same look on his face that I had seen
on many cold winter mornings. And then I understood
what had been in his eyes and the fawn’s.
My father no longer held the rifle lazily.
The prop in his memory play had become very real.
I stood and walked away. I did not watch.
My father and I never discussed it again.
The first time I touched you, I remembered this walk.
When I placed my hands on your skin, I thought:
No one has ever felt something this soft…
except for me. When I touched that fawn.
And I remembered all of that day, and you seemed
gentle like my father, like his care with the mice.
And you seemed fragile like that fawn: young and untouched.
But you were mine. You gave yourself to me and begged I take.
My father’s sadness for those mice and that fawn
was a private thing, a thing I had no right to see.
That fawn’s infant softness was also not for me.
It wasn’t for anyone. That was nature’s claim,
which it tried to make quietly, until we interrupted.
But you asked me to interrupt your quiet, your loneliness,
because you knew I was strong but gentle, and you trusted
that I would cherish your gift. And I did.