Taking    Off

	I'd never seen your foot's underside, those sandals
	must cut like a corset, forcing you from toeing 

	dirt, air.  You kick lightly when I slide a finger
	between strap and skin.  Tonight your ankle

	sports a new tattoo, scabs already blurring
	over the black outline of a penguin, stunted

	wings clipped close to his sides.  The inside 
	of the tattoo is uncolored, still growing

	hair.  You had expected pain, a little
	buzz, like my teeth nipping along the top-point

	of your ear, but not the sight of blood-drops
	neatly lining your skin.  We stretch out together

	on my couch.  The narrow muscles of your feet
	arch proudly on the armrest, showing me

	the first wobblings of this rooted bird,
	now running, now trying to take flight.

next page:
return to the study: