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June 6, 2016 Poetry

Elegy with arms folded

Alison Thumel

Elegy with arms folded photo


You've told me you feel like a bat.

What you don't mean is your wings.
Or the development of a reflex that draws your ears toward small sounds.

What you do mean is that you're harmless.
Or meant to hurt me.
I'll never remember what the biology lesson said. 

I'll remember:

Your skin so thin it is translucent.
The body shot through with light.
Something skeletal trapped  in amber.
Have you become more shell than warmth?
I don't say this.

I trace your head in my hands in my lap.
You're so tight in your skull, hairs traced out into jagged parts.
Like veins, like lightning, like the river when it thaws to break.

Your ears draw toward the small sounds of me.
Saying night night night.




image: Aaron Burch