Monday, April 1, 2019

Please Touch (Day 803)

ahead in line, a shriek, a swell 

of flustered giggles  

what is it?  never one for surprises, 

you hesitate, not wanting to 

reach into this velvet-shrouded hole, 

imagining the hairy legs 

of some unintentional arachnid, 

who would obviously be tempted 

by a dusty curtained box

you find no comfort in your classmates’ 

whole, unravaged fingers,

in their laughter and high, excited voices

—no, you alone realize the danger 

of reaching blindly into blackness

consider the rattlesnake, lurking 

between boulders—the one your mother 

surprised when, as a young girl, she 

climbed a mountain with her spaniel, 

who jumped bravely forward 

to take the strike, saving her, 

saving you, who know better 

than to put your hand where you can’t see

the child next to you shuffles and sighs, 

impatient, and you also know shame, 

know courage, know you have to 

press beyond the darkness, where 

the tiny skeleton of some forsaken fledgling 

waits for soft-seeking fingertips to probe 

the tiny holes through which it saw a world 

larger even than your own

waits for you to give name to its being, 

to its unbecoming, waits for you to imagine 

velvety feathers silkening a quivering breast 

before it fell, before it gave its life 

so you can have this moment, this horror, 

this upwelling of giddy relief, 

so you can hold the elegant fragility 

of bleached bones, so you, too, can wait,

and know, 

and know, 

and you release 

the tiny creature with a shiver of regret, 

before dusting your hand off 

on a blue-jeaned leg, 

and allowing yourself to be

jostled forward again, toward the next exhibit

(c) 2019, by Hannah Six

Image: Pixabay

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