Tactile Memories by Richard Fein
I traced a cutesy “I luv u.”
She guessed its meaning before I finished.
Her eyes were turned to the blue sky outside.
We lay naked on the bed,
some distance apart.
Then came my turn to guess.
My skin became a parchment for her finger.
But her nail was a sharp stylus
and her touch heavier than mine,
her scribbling quicker,
her writing less legible,
her message much longer—
running from my nape to the back of my knee.
Her first word was also an I.
The rest was mystery.
I asked her.
But she pointed to a pigeon strutting
on the window ledge.
We watched till it took wing.
I dared to ask again.
But she snuggled close
and used her skin as a blanket
to silence me.
Now I lie alone.
No pigeon parades by the window.
There’s only the gray November sky.
I arch my back
and turn over to where she once lay.
Then like secret writing held over a flame,
on my skin,
I recall her touch, her touch of words,
the feel of one searing word—