Skip to content →

Five Finger Exercise

When things get hot and heavy this weekend or one August

twenty years from now and I start tapping hexameters

up and down the shoulder-blades of my beloved (insert

auspicious, trustworthy-sounding, stolid but fun name here

for I can conjure none), I hope I do it right,

never losing sight of the skin whose golden toughness

allows the counting, never moving my fingers so briskly

that I can’t hear his breathing, and never forgetting, even

in the lonely heights of sublimest inspiration—

What is your substance?… O rose … and grey and full of sleep

to flip the warm flesh over and whisper, It had to be you.

from Silver RosesFind it in the library

Copyright © Persea Books 2010
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of Persea Books.

Published in Poems Rachel Wetzsteon

This program is supported in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, a State-based program of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this (publication, website, exhibit, etc.) do not necessarily represent those of the Idaho Humanities Council or the National Endowment for the Humanities.