When they cleaned you and gave you to me,
long legs and fingers, red glow
rising from creased flesh,
eyes already awake, gaze steady,
I shook for three days
in my knot of hospital sheets.

Tears came later—
cries, fears, fierce holding.
The ways you’d shake me off.
Your well of rage. Over and over
you bloomed in your separate knowledge.

Yesterday, you offered tender words.
I remembered gorging on teglach Fanny made,
thick knots of dough shining with honey.
I’m filled and wanting more—only to taste
that heavy gold on my tongue again.



(From My Body: New and Selected Poems, copyright © 2007 by Joan Larkin. Published by Hanging Loose Press, 231 Wyckoff Street, Brooklyn, NY 11217, All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced in any medium, print or electronic, without the publisher’s written permission, except for brief quotations in reviews.)