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Relatively Long Arms

For his sake I steered clear of flicker,
singed the noodles, sang for supper—
sundown at last on the bad-news New Year
hung left, left and cut to quicker,
steered clear of neon but stoked the fire
with a store-bought log. Flame took the ticket,
twitched and admitted one—nervous romantic’s
hopeless tic—One on one,
on one condition. Lover stuttered.
Wax log sputtered. Steered clear of taxi
but brought him a present, unwrapped the itch
I made from scratch. Longing’s been
a long time coming. Ask me if
we’re nowhere yet. Earth? Old girl got
the spins, closed her eyes and rubbed
for stars, twirled to new resolutions,
a circular saw-to, saw him a round peg,
me, square hole made do. Clear of crosswalk.
Oh to try a tighter orbit,
snag the scarf in the celestial machinery,
pull him so close he can’t tell
his bell from my whistle, tell him
tell the moon that Dora sent you.

Posted 01/31/10
"Relatively Long Arms" is from Say So, forthcoming from the Cleveland State University Poetry Center in late 2010.
Books by Dora Malech
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