Touching your face, I am like a boy
who bags groceries, mindless on a Saturday,
jumbling cans of wax beans and condensed milk
among frozen meats, the ribboned beef
and chops like maps of continental drift,
extremes of weather and hemisphere,
egg carton perched like a Napoleonic hat,
til he touches something awakened by water,
a soothing skin, eggplant or melon or cool snow pea,
and he pauses, turning it in his hand,
this announcement of color, purple or green,
the raucous rills of the aisles overflowing,
and by now the shopper is staring
when the check-out lady turns and says
“Jimmy is anything the matter?”
Touching your face, I am like that boy
brought back to his body, steeped
in the moment, fulfilled but unable to speak.
Copyright © BOA Editions, Ltd 2000
Used with the permission of The Permissions Company, Inc.
on behalf of BOA Editions LTD.