2 March 2002 | Vol. 2, No. 1

After Jon Larrance's Nude on a Couch

Once I wrote your eyes

in the palm of my hand

while you were engaged

in the centering music.

I needed them for an unfinished

poem about you

making peace with yourself.

The poem was missing

the perfect eyes.

For weeks I struggled,

writing eyes in sand, in frost,

on envelopes, receipts

and colossal in size on monitors.

Some too slanted, most too round,

while the perfect eyes—

brown like bark and

deep as the earth's secret—

winked at me from across the room.

You asked what was in my

fist that night in church.

I said 'offering' but

did not open my hand in yours.

I thought they looked like

spiders when I straightened my fingers

to see if they were still there.

My palm began perspiring

when you whispered in my ear

and the brown began to run

like syrup does on pancakes.

I said I'd left my Bible

and hastened to the car,

opening the poem, fold by fold,

four to be precise.

I lifted the eyes from my fist

and placed them in the line about you

finding peace in a communion wafer.

About the author:

Shelly Reed writes in Norwalk, Iowa, where she enjoys regular silence. Her work appears extensively online and in print, nationally and internationally. Recent poems appear or are scheduled for appearance with Comrades, Sometimes City, Wilmington Blues, and 2River.

For further reading:

See the complete list of work by Shelly Reed at 42opus. Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 2, No. 1, where "After Jon Larrance's Nude on a Couch" ran on March 2, 2002. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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