28 September 2008 | Vol. 8, No. 3

Each Touch Leaves an Imprint

His knife plinks the ribs' curve.

Salmon organs spread,

a girl's coral dress come undone.

Overhead, gulls wing against the sky,

angled shapes that collapse as they drop.

He has a sure grip. The blood sticks

in a loam under his nails. For him,

love and the hesitation it breeds are a long way off.

He tells me to put my hands in the body;

the birds' beaks flash orange.

He does not yet know

how it feels to be taken, held this way.

My fingers slip through the silk of entrails,

blind tips that nose the belly. Here,

I feel the bowl and suck of current,

there the thrust toward air.

I fling the guts, cast

as he's shown me. The birds

circle, swoop to the river.

He laughs as they dip

and rise, empty-mouthed.

The current's shifted;

a girl's long neck, turned.

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About the author:

Ruth Williams' poetry has been previously published in jubilat, Lake Effect, Hubbub, New Delta Review, and in What Light, an anthology of poems from www.mnartists.org. Currently, she teaches English in South Korea where she enjoys kimchi and school children shouting random hellos.

For further reading:

Browse the contents of 42opus Vol. 8, No. 3, where "Each Touch Leaves an Imprint" ran on September 28, 2008. List other work with these same labels: poetry.

42opus is an online magazine of the literary arts.

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