a Near Forgotten Shoulder

It crested, gracefully jagged,
coming to a hostile point at the outer edge
like a boulder beneath silk.

The latte-with-extra-soy skin-tone,
when your heart was racing,
burned a wicked bronze.
In any shade, those scars along the
shoulder-blade stayed pale.
Like the remnants of amputated wings
on a pained angel
these cyst marks
you called ugly
made you seem

honest.

In anger
this shoulder collapsed in
like a cornered feline.
In pleasure
it purred, pressing
soft and warm into
my chest.

I had nearly forgotten this curve

of your calligraphy,

but in my recollection feel the
contours of every inch
as if grafted
to my fingertips.


This piece was first published in Enormous Rooms in Spring 2011. It was re-published in V Magazine during Spring 2012 in a special edition that paired photography and poetry. (The photograph was gorgeous. I will attempt to track it down, along with permission to use it here.)

Special thanks to Shakaya, who provided the shoulder this poem is about, and Mike White, who provided the poetry experiment that prompted this poem.

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