Lament by Emily Rosko

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.