In the end, there is nothing to say, except gratitude
for the articulation of muscle and skin, solidity of bone,
and the fine webbing of nerve that catches consciousness
and cups it here sweetly in the senses, tangle and delay,
fired into being. In the tiny, almost infinite gaps
between neurons, we discover together that the body
is deferral, is weight and wait, ballast and balance
that slows the spirit, keeps everything from rushing
to climax at the same, sudden moment of ache.
Otherwise, it would not matter that my fingertips
start just under your ear and move with impossible
luxury, almost undetectable touch,
down the side of the living throat, over the collarbone
and the supreme smooth paleness of the shoulder,
down the inside of the arm, finding the thin blue veins
of the wrist, and lingering long in the palm.
This slowness wouldn’t matter. Without the body,
why would I want the gesture to consume a thousand years?
Without the body, where would time and memory knot
us to the world? Once we stood on a rim of granite
above a northern lake, and upward through the bare birch
and tamarack hoof beats rose into the same cold air we breathed.
A body larger than both of us was moving below,
into us. Now we say nothing, but memory in your white breast
answers and lives, stiffens against memory in my warm mouth.