His hands are skillful: hands that can shape metal,
scale cliffs, save lives (and juggle, it turns out).
The moment I first took his hand I noticed
the papery-dry texture of the skin
upon his workman's palms. His body tells
its history in scars: this one from welding,
that one from pavement -- and the fine precise
white lines and crosses sketched out on his forearm
a separate text, narrating other battles
to those with eyes to see. Everywhere else,
his skin is fine and smooth (the Little Dipper
marked out in seven freckles on his chest;
I trace them, feel the muscles underneath),
fragrant of soap, and melting-soft. His hair,
soft too and fragrant, curls about his ears
in just the way that begs to be caressed.
He used to wear it long ("Longer than yours --
you saw me back then, you just didn't know
that it was me"); I've seen a photograph,
but short hair seems so right and graceful on him,
I'm at a loss imagining it long,
how it would feel to twine my fingers in.
April 23, 2003