It’s a simple resistance
between the pull of springs
and struggle of joints: two coiled
silver muscles working
in the lamp against blue washers
and pivot plates, locking nut
coolly swiveling loose with age.
In the arm
it’s done with blood:
tissues plumped then promptly deflated.
What else am I supposed to start with?
Not the light bulb, to which
this whole narrative yearns, loving
the glass envelope sizzling with light,
grasshopper antennae scrubbed
with electricity until each filament’s turned to fire.
No, I have to start with the arm first, the mint-blue
lamp, then maybe light itself to specify
what startles me
about you, globe of hot fruit, Christ heart
throbbing in the open chest; curtains of robe parted
just enough to see what afterglow defines us, waits for us,
rubbing its slow music out into the wet dark—
Tonight, I’m counting out my seeds of waiting for you
through a current that is silent
and might always be,
though it thrums in every gesture:
like this white eye burning within the metal shade
I carefully adjust
over a plate of orange slices each evening.

Paisley Rekdal, "Rubbed" from The Invention of the Kaleidoscope. Copyright © 2007 by Paisley Rekdal.  Reprinted by permission of University of Pittsburgh Press.
Source: The Invention of the Kaleidoscope (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2007)
More Poems by Paisley Rekdal