Eyes Closed Legs Crossed

by Helen Pruitt Wallace

We sat trying to read each other’s minds,
to imagine hunger, any kind, of which
we knew little, lucky as we were

in our childhood. Hunger is …
a wound, a lost child … faint smell
of a father’s cigar—no—the red tip

of it … sun snaking through plains,
jagged rocks, or maybe just their scales,
that brittle lichen lacing up, flaking?

A pause in the angle of a wrist
becomes a white anthurium tossed
(in a gesture of grief?) there,

by the side of a road. I remember
the ache of that road, I watched it
for hours back then: dust kicking up

in certain light, a tinge—of what was it
hunger? Did it go by the name of desire?
That mad press of tires, that contact?

Published on September 5, 2019