I wanted to sleep in the attic,
in the special room where Annie
once slept under the eaves;
Annie long-gone into war factories
south of the tracks.
My mother said no,
because of fire she said,
so I practiced crawling out
the small window
onto the slanted roof, calculated
the leap to the chestnut tree.
I wanted to be near my father.
He was stored in boxes
in the tower room: his books,
sermons, black robe, his clarinet
with silver bands, silver keys
and in a corner, the gilded bust
my mother made. surreal,
the mask of a missing man,
missing arms, shoulders,
Giving Good Hugs
There are hugs that bruise along my curves
like vinyl too hot in a red summer afternoon.
and hugs that run out of edges
until they are not a proper embrace,
just a limp, polite, air-kiss of arms.
I like enough pressure
to know the person giving
the hug that settles in
and never cools until that moment
when all the grandness
has been sucked out of it
by both the hugger and hugged
and which has long been muddied;
the hug comes to a natural end
and each pulls back replete with it.
Then the afterhug - a magnet
of surprise when the space between
the huggers hurts
with the pull of separating
and like electricity leaps
to the approaching plug needing
to make the connection - we hug again
just lean back into it
this one low and comfortable,
this one full of the acquaintance
of my body into yours, letting flesh
and muscle settle into give and take places
against each other.