By David Baker
Such pleasure one needs to make for oneself.
She has snipped the paltry forsythia
to force the bloom, has cut each stem on
the slant and sprinkled brown sugar in a vase,
so the wintered reeds will take their water.
It hurts her to do this but she does it.
When are we most ourselves, and when the least?
Last night, the man in the recessed doorway,
homeless or searching for something, or sought—
all he needed was one hand and quiet.
The city around him was one small room.
He leaned into the dark portal, gray
shade in a door, a shadow of himself.
His eyes were closed. His rhythm became him.
So we have shut our eyes, as dead or as
other, and held the thought of another
whose pleasure is need, face over a face ...
It hurts her to use her hands, to hold
a cup or bud or touch a thing. The doctors
have turned her burning hands in their hands.
The tests have shown a problem, but no cause,
a neuropathology of mere touch.
We have all made love in the dark, small room
of such need, without shame, to our comfort,
our compulsion. I know I have. She has.
We have held or helped each other, sometimes
watching from the doorway of a warm house
where candletips of new growth light the walls,
the city in likeness beyond, our hands
on the swollen damp branch or bud or cup.
Sometimes we are most ourselves when we are
least, or hurt, or lost, face over a face—.
You have, too. It’s your secret, your delight.
You smell the wild scent all day on your hand.
I had a bunch of work to do Thursday so it was a quiet day, apart from cats who insist on interrupting with chirps, meows, thundering across the living room, and unexpected sneak attacks every 45 seconds. Adam went out to lunch and ice skating with Christine; Paul and I had lunch together and took a walk in the late afternoon since it was warmer than the previous few days; the bunnies have been hiding more often than not until after dark, but there have been deer in the woods.
Adam wanted to see In the Heart of the Sea, so we did, though I was nervous because I can't stand cruelty to animals and I always passionately root for the whales to kill all the sailors in versions of Moby Dick. This one had several moments where I couldn't watch and they involved people stranded at sea as well as whales, but it was well-filmed and better than the reviews I'd read. We got back in time for Elementary, which was great this week. Some Lewis Ginter botanical garden orchids: