The Little Review (littlereview) wrote,
The Little Review

Poem for Tuesday

The Question of Affection
By Pattiann Rogers

We don't know yet what it means to be touched,
To be the recipient of caresses, what the ear
Learns of itself when its lines are followed
By the finger of somebody else.

We know the spine of the infant can expand,
The neck grow sturdy, the shoulder blades facile
By fondling alone. The acuity of the eye is increased,
The lung capacity doubled by random nuzzles
To the ribs.

But we don't understand what the mind perceives
When the thigh's length is fixed by the dawdling
Of the lover's hand, when the girth of the waist
Is defined by the arms of a child.

An affectionate ear on the belly must alter
The conception of the earth pressing itself against the sky.
An elbow bent across the chest must anticipate
Early light angled over the lake. The curl of the pea
Can be understood as one hand caught carefully inside another.

Cores and cylinders, warm boundaries and disappearing curves,
What is it we realize when those interruptions of space
Are identified with love in the touch of somebody else?

I must remember now what it was I recognized
In the sky outside the window last night
As I felt the line of my shoulder drawn
In the trace of your lips.


I was flattened for a while by a migraine so have very little to report from my Monday. Did some more organizing of books -- husband decided we had to have the 16-volume Golden Book Encyclopedia when he found a complete set for $12 at the Claude Moore Farm fundraising sale over the weekend -- and folded laundry while watching Miss Potter, which Showtime has On Demand; I'd only seen it on airplanes previously, so it was nice to see on a decent-sized screen. I don't always love Renee Zellwegger, but she's terrific in that role and Ewan McGregor is adorable as Norman Warne. My parents stopped by with dessert on their way home from a weekend in New York, but I was feeling too blah to eat any of it.

Mistress Barrow's Dry Goods -- pottery, glass, imported textiles, wooden goods and sundries for the home.

Mr. John's fine goods for men -- hats, shaving equipment, horns, nautical equipment, leather goods and notebooks.

The herb garden. There is also a potpourri stand where dried herbs and spices can be mixed in bags and pouches.

The wool and yarn shop, with finished cloth for sale in the next stall.

The drink stand, with lemonade, root beer and ginger ale, plus beer, cider and wine.

Miniature tea sets, dollhouse furniture, pop guns and other children's toys.

Rosemary chicken roasted over and open fire.

Adam was accidentally bonked over the head by a fat tree branch by his best friend, so he has a big bruise on his forehead and across an eyebrow (and is worried the friend friend will be grounded as then they won't be able to make origami paper airplanes together tomorrow). Meanwhile Daniel is on a crazy schedule, because the high school assessments are this week and most freshmen and sophomores don't have to be at school until late morning, but the magnet program is having long review and teaching sessions in the morning. And Adam has the orthodontist Tuesday afternoon for new x-rays and imprints so we can figure out exactly what needs to be done to straighten the rest of his teeth. Sigh.

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