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Ode to Your Upper Arms

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

Ode to Your Upper Arms

Which part of your body is my favorite?

You’ll think perhaps the obvious, but no

That power has its own relationship

To me, my hands and my soft openings

What I mean is a part of your body

That quietly contains you. Can you guess?

Your upper arms


I can imbibe the thighs of running men

Delight myself with sights of defined legs

Powerful and sleek as striving horses

Two columns upholding a mystery

You have such thighs

But what in your deltoids and biceps sets

Me yearning, and what am I searching for?

They’re large and arched, pure beauty in themselves

Like marbled men of Michelangelo

And different from mine in such a way

Your ears or feet or knees could never be

They hold your upper body above me

As you fix on my face and move through me


We’ve shared a bed for an entire night

Perhaps a dozen times in our six years

Most of those evenings, rung out from laughing

And too wine-drunk and filled with each other

To need to fuck,

We lie supine and wander into sleep

But not before I turn to meet your arm

To smell my breath returning from your skin

Or cup my hands around you as a prayer

Resting my forehead on its granite curve

I drop into a rare stability


The idea of your arms changes sometimes

When I don’t see you. The picture of you

Swirls with the girl and woman and mother

And lover inside me, and you become

To me a boy

Your skinny arms maneuvering your bike

Or raised to your turned face to catch your tears


Away from you these days I understand

That the afternoons where I could survey

Your skin are gone

I’ll have to conjure your contours staring

At your shirt across the café table

But in this most recent experiment

Trying to live without you finally

I found myself trapped back in a small space

And from there knew I would be saved: Those arms

Could still hold me

I could load you with my exuberance

Fall angrily on you in my despair

And your friendship, though shy at times, could hold

Me, even if we never touch again

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