July 12th, 2013
Years ago I had a friendly acquaintance named Jane who gave massages in her home, and one day I took her up on it, and had one of Those Experiences. No, cynical Burlingtonites, so recently sated on news stories of happy ending massage parlors, not one of those experiences. Jane has long ago passed out of my life, but recently I made a new friend who worked for some time as a massage therapist, so the subject has been on my mind. I have no idea what it is like to be pulled into the white light of orgasm by some oriental sex slave, an experience to be had at certain “health spas” around here up until a few weeks ago for around eighty dollars, according to the news. I don’t remember what I paid Jane for giving me something other than an orgasm, but it wasn’t quite that much. It was worth writing a poem about.
The last thing I felt was warmth in the middle
of my chest and a spot of it on the crown
of my head, your touch, as if your arms
ran a conduit plugging those places together;
then that was gone; my eyes were closed;
I floated in a black place. Somewhere a bone
flute knitted high and low seamless as a mitten.
I floated in my body bag, waiting for something
to return. Nothing returned. Then, as I floated,
a click from the other room, a little boy’s
blocks clacked, and here a puff of breeze
on my bare chest seconded this call. So my
eyelids lightened, filled with the possibility
of motion as slowly as canal locks fill with water;
opened; and there was this glaring white blank
I recognized after a while as your ceiling and not
the eye of god because if it had been god’s eye
the thoughts that kept tugging at my attention –
of the flute, of you and your husband and child,
of my wife and children, of the streets between –
would have pulled me away; but there remained
your ceiling in awesome steadfast finality.
Then you peeked in the door, quietly asking
if I was alright, and I knew it had become time,
the muscles in my limbs were mine again,
to move, pull on my shirt, and button it.