Reaching for a Book


Elbows oxy-weighted and low,
his hands cross the gladiolus of a sternum.
A strain of steepled fingers, he clings

to castles in reread picture books. Leaded
light spiders through a nearby window
threading prince gold lashes through his eyelids.

Is there – white and wilting on his chest,
a rose he can’t smell? Does he imagine
the slide of a long thin snake that feeds him?

Has someone woven ivy through his fingers?
Are thorns stitching the open book between
his thumbs? Is he under brick in a walled garden

or does the hilt of a silver sword
rest against his chest? Is someone there?
Please, if you can hear, tell him a romantic story –

one where fluid drains away enchanted,
where the hero’s body is naturally blue,
where he’s not sealed off under the florescence.



First Publication: Peacock Journal, 2016.