An echo in the handset when I call
bristles like fur on a tomcat’s paunch, a thistle’s
suggestion to pluck—an echo of fingerprint
pressed in paint, smeared into the slight lisp
of orange in the ridge of rooftops,
puckered, a mouth whispering hard: don’t touch
and, without touching, you find the muscle
in my heel, my voice, and run a pencil up
along my calf and thigh while, absentminded,
cradling the phone, you touch with your eyes
the rooftops and the hills beyond, the warping
and gilt glare in the windows, your stare—
your signature will cover me, an x
I carry in my eyes, and on my tongue
a sip of scotch about to vaporize.
Laura Bylenok is the author of Warp, winner of the 2015 T.S. Eliot Prize and forthcoming from Truman State University Press, and the hybrid prose chapbook a/0 (DIAGRAM/New Michigan Press, 2014). Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Pleiades, North American Review, Guernica, Cimarron Review, and West Branch, among others. She is currently pursuing a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Utah, where she is also a new media editor for Quarterly West.