I try to wash my hands clean of you

but the place where ring finger meets palm

is still calloused, still rough with memory

 of rice battering us like cornstalks’ tassels

 which slapped our bodies the night we ran

naked in your grandfather’s fields, you forever

the neighbor girl whose laugh was a song

I heard everywhere—in birdcalls, in wind

wrestling through thistles, in April thunder

unsettling my parents’ sleep—and me always seventeen

and embarrassed to look too closely

at your still barren belly lit by the moon

as I dabbed at cuts and took the red away

with my undershirt, knowing finally what

it must be like to want for nothing

but to be locked in a heart I’d never thought I deserved.
Photo by Joe Lencioni