LET US STROKE EACH OTHER
We begin simply by coming closer, slowly pressing away the air
between our bodies like jars of summer vegetables that suck themselves vacuum:
preservation always begins with the application of a label.
Go then, on your knees, plant my hand upon your hairs and rub back and forth -
a reversed way of waving until your locks become sticky.
We know of people that stand too far apart even for waving
where waves of dismissal have become a form of breathing, the air must
always be declared pure before they proceed: this must not happen to us.
You were nine when you said that you were like a bathtub, something that would always need
another to fill itself, I let the water run and you showed me where
the gap was, how it began at the top, then fell
a film in a museum showed a rabbit thrown into the deep, to see which
animals, like cats, could land on their feet, no, it touched the ground,
appeared for a moment at one with the structure of the floor until it bounced -
this they called art but you screamed: touch me here, now
because wasn’t I the man who caused you to fuse like a jar
that has burst open from too much warmth, who should know the gaps like
crawl spaces in a hollowed-out loaf.
I’ve let you wallow so long, continuously refilling the bath until the day your skin
no longer soaks up the water and a shadow that is strange to you seeps into every pleat.
Come, show yourself now not so nakedly, this flesh has been strange to me since birth
but do let me stroke you – that’s part of it, they say - it’s allowed.