After the River Merchant’s Wife

Would it diminish us both? Were I an I,
I’d scan the old beloved handbooks of our selves
till the hunger manifests the book
against the backdrop of a life. Longing’s
a peak now finds me. Too deep to clear.
To touch me under such circumstances
separates. How could I get you,
like a fist or a foot, to break.
I want the weight of more to exist,
its transmitted wish its largeness.
Absence, the more enjoyed, becomes you.
So few have put skin to my skin for months.
Say “contact” to mean a blank. Does that
like being used, a pleasure in isn’t?


the lived world shrank & shrank & kept shrinking
blank gleam but with teeth
fanged & with teeth

I was in my box & stayed in my box
everything was outside & I was small
but to me I got bigger & bigger

alone I filled space
in the past I’d feared stepping into
a dark empty room

the sound of applause
now here I was
empty room

no applause
(dear shadow, come back)
once I sat close to my friend

I could lean into his body
side by side on a bench
where we sat looking out

over river’s high water
night’s orange red & white lights
barges buildings & tugs

reflecting a black surface
we sensed without feeling
I touched his back once

said I’ve been looking out
& I want to be pushed
he didn’t touch back

the sounds bounced into shelters
wishful transmissions
fate caves & other small places