Poetry: “Lover’s Hands”

Charles Doersch

Lover’s Hands

Maybe it’s the certain design the flight particular birds make
brings the heart joy, some certain choreography perhaps
that Minke whale yesterday swam around our ketch in the gale
—upside down at times, at times sidewise in the following
swell to spy-hop and breach halloo-to-the-world topside with a back flop—
determined and attentively random as though the doing
itself a certain way expressed (what other name is there but) joy.
How any duck plays in clean water.
How a city dog loosed on a lawn goes and goes.
What if those mathematicians are right who have this down
to such an equation fractal software engenders
clouds cumulating, and the wings of birds together?

Does this touch on an equation of delight, the design
I trace this morning, a fingertip on your skin,
lying under the casuarinas above the bay? And is this sound the pine-like
horsetail-like trees make in the sea air a sound the design of cloud,
the pattern of what stirs? Sure, wind holds the shape of the tree—
that’s physics. But so do those two tropicbirds flying below this cliff
move with the algorithm my hand has, soaring on the updraft,
diving with a flash to the parsley bush below.
Feel this flight. Aimless, isn’t it—and still somehow
attentive to an aim, being what it’s about.
The flight is yours; how do you speak it?
Flying it, what are you up to?

Breakfast smoke curls in the valley, like the spawning
of coral, like a shred of windy rain, like this lichen
on the flow of volcanic rock, and like the volcanic rock—
convection-shapes of musing, of daydream and sleep dream,
of all that assembles and dissembles, equation to equation without end
—until the like in any simile is struck through,
and we’re left alone in all the world. Me. You.
No companionable comparisons. No smoke, no mirrors.
The ancients had it right: the flight
two birds have isn’t like the motion of a lover’s hands—
it is the motion of a lover’s hands.
Grass grows in joy.

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