Reconcile of Self

Issue 3 | Summer 2019 |



How to touch another
person: as if you are picking
up a ripe persimmon from the ground, as
if you are cradling the lost, pearl-gray
young rabbit intestines shining on the lawn.

The cats are killing machines. They keep
running on the instinct by which they are moved;
as kites in air currents thirty feet above.
I can’t get over cultural boundaries,
sometimes I want to cradle

each person I see, as if I can see through
to their pearly-gray insides. Down on my knees
come, come, to the elderly lady in front of me
who I overhear tell the librarian
that her husband has been gone for five years. Who

clutches her books as she held her husband—
when he died; as a titan
holds power. Is it too much to hold her? Me,
a stranger, glistening. How
to touch anyone whose skin you have

permission for: as if you are
holding your hand out
in arched stillness for an insect
to land on. And you watch them
the same way. Still against

the moment, twitching and robotic,
and then gone. The neighbors
have heard us fight—I’m sure of it.
There are times I hold you as though you
are feet pressing into the caramel earth. We are

tectonic plates, harsh, and unforgiving, and
I touch you as if you are the Japanese beetle,
so alien, I snatch from the Echinacea
and plunge into the soapy water. I watch it

wade about, wearing the luster
of a golden sphinx. But, mostly,

when I touch you, it is with the softness
of a rhododendron flower falling to the ground

and the epic it makes with the dirt.