A Secret Matter of Grave Importance

Except when once we drew identical lots
nothing’s ever come between us.
We keep our drifts of space
spare and daily shake our down.

You’ve glanced beyond your dirty cuffs
and caught me hand-washing my clean shirts.
Stuck with sharp wind, both
bloods are rare and rarely do

we taste the walnut’s knot of oil.
We wake between our fitted sheets
and shake our fists or pretend real fright
but not in this do we dare touch.

My rib cage can stand in yours, yours
become the swinging doors through which
magician’s swords will slice and miss
that knotted muscle. It is a trick.

We’ll make an endless show of the outright
clanking, irregular beating of our acrobatic hearts.
We’ve designed the double bars of depth;
our hearts skip — the tumbleset we think

is absence, the somersault we call forbearance
— the hearts are there, doing turns that teach
us to count and keep each finger
close to its own sly pulse.

Reprinted from All You Have in Common: “A Secret Matter of Grave Importance” by permission of Carnegie Mellon University Press Copyright © 1988 by Dara Wier.
Source: All You Have in Common (Carnegie Mellon University Press, 1984)
More Poems by Dara Wier