In which I hugged my ex-lover

affectionately goodbye at a wedding his date close by

all smiles and colors he used to want me to wear which did not go with my face

her nails the color he used to want me to wear but I don’t polish mine

I polish nothing in the individual strands of vexation

sunny, quiet, and close to all

and his and my hug stranded itself in a pause something like falling asleep

the body recalling something and going for an extended embrace without my allowing

as I once did stand next to a different man I had asked to marry me ten years before

when his wife and baby were at my mother’s table eating food

and I almost took his hand in mine without thinking

so long the fingers write down within themselves their code

sensing sweaters, unwrapping cough drops, thumbing another story about teen love,

holding objects while the glue sets, knowing about the wind,

feeling an empty space to be full

 

Cynthia Arrieu-King
teaches creative writing at Stockton University and is a former Kundiman fellow. Her published poetry books include People are Tiny in Paintings of China (Octopus 2010) and Manifest, selected by Harryette Mullen for the Gatewood Prize (Switchback Books 2013). In 2016, a book of collaborative poems written with the late Hillary Gravendyk, Unlikely Conditions, will be published by 1913 Press.
Filed under: Poetry

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