LIKE THAT by Lisa Gluskin Stonestreet
The first time I leaned over and swept the tip of my smallest fingernail down into the whorl of your ear (bigger than your elbow), and you yelped in violation: forgive me it is no longer my ear (little boat, little shell I carved) and still flushing pink, even now, at the embarrassment, the satisfaction— sliver-moon of yellow wax: tiny victory. . . . Lovers say, I did not know where my body ended and yours began. I did not know. Even yesterday when you laughed, reared back, your head quick-snap against my upper lip, both of us laughing and then me still laughing, eye-sting, drop of blood at the crown of your head, panic— oh, mine. This morning it’s holding, rough/soft, drawing my tongue up under my lip, compelling— Like that. And entirely unlike, of course (of course, we must say, feel we must say)— . . . Six months until you crawled, the only calm lay in your being tied to me—head up, bumping my ribs, head up, eyes open, the kicks to the belly—that same position on my body that you took inside it (the acupuncture, the headstands: what I wouldn’t do in those last weeks to turn you toward the earth—) and everything slipping, permeable, all the wavering, you/me the least of it: day/night inside/outside body/body what I wouldn’t do (I could open the door) wait: wavering Jewish atheist that I am— I made you.