Out of lament for the body, touch
the body. Skin marred with sunspots
and scars and the tenderest
touch of lips to the inner-under wrist.
Out of this body, the fear of no body,
where all mass evaporates into sun,
the instant heat of now, then not.
Out of lament for the bodies, gather
the bodies. Wash clean the faces
that held you, beloved face
made strange with arrest. A body
never ours, divided
from one another. The mother-body,
no longer our body and your hand
on my arm, the inscrutable
longing to devour you back. To one
body, this lament. Pieces of you
I never knew, never touched. Wind
across the forearm’s delicate hair, skinshiver,
the dry salt air. Bodies
in harm, bodies attacking, bodies
with their fragile eyelids open.
Bodies we cannot unsee. Bodies
that draw us near. I cannot hold you
enough. I kiss the earlobe, cheek
up-pumped by smile. The lament
to your constant movement, your body
propelling itself away. The age and pull
of time making havoc on my body
and the havoc of bodies in crowds
packed with sweat and blood,
semen and spit. One body wants
another to behave. One body lit
with mercy. Out of lament
for the body, touch the body: lay
open your palm with no expectation.
Unfold your palm so I can trace
the lines of your weather-soft
skin, the tributaries and rivulets
worn down, empty for giving.
Emily Rosko is the author of Weather Inventions (University of Akron Press, forthcoming 2018), Prop Rockery (U Akron P 2012), and Raw Goods Inventory (U Iowa Press, 2006). Recent poems appear in Epoch, Crab Orchard Review, and West Branch. She is the editor of A Broken Thing: Poets on the Line (U Iowa P 2011) and poetry editor for Crazyhorse. She teaches at the College of Charleston.