I wonder, if I know you for the rest of my life,
will I ever be able to touch all of you?
I've been trying for over a year, and I'm sure
there are spots that I've missed.
Perhaps a small scrap of skin on your shin
has gone unnoticed, or a single string of hair?
Maybe a place at the nape of your neck,
a crease in the crease in your elbow?
I've wandered around the inside of your thigh,
but have I gone far enough up?
I stick my fingers on your back, draw lines slowly
down--sometimes furiously with fingernails dug--
and I question whether I'm getting it all in
or simply retracing patterns, getting stuck in ruts.
I know that your skin is falling off,
being replaced with new skin to touch.
I'm always falling behind.
They say we've only explored one-onemillionth
of the ocean, this vast body that makes up
most everything. We don't pay close enough
attention to less-traveled routes; we stick
to the most convenient courses. So much lies
underneath the surface; we rarely dive
far enough down.
If I could sink my fingers beneath your flesh,
what would I find besides meat and bone,
dripping sinew, bubbling hot blood? This vast
body that makes up most everything?
I hope that I am not forgetful of such rarely
And even if I only explore one-onemillionth
of your skin in the time that I know you,
I know you.