her arms with a river here,
her reach, her grasp, her tendency to touch
everything once beguiled him. Now
he says, “you think it’s real
only if you can feel it.” He says,
“What’s beyond matters more.” She says.
“How can you be sure?” Her eyelids click like a doll
in a way that once beguiled him. “To be real
is to be embodied.” She touches him, “here,”
on his chest. His heart now
slows like a Texan river under her touch.
Deep down he knows he’s not now made real by touch,
if he ever was. He says,
“I can’t explain, but that’s just it. Now
I see people in their lives like dolls
on a shelf, inhabiting the space here
with articulated joints and gestures like real
hands and wrists, as if what’s real
is within reach, but touch
only reveals the plastic, the limits of what’s here.”
“Oh no, not again,” she says
cradling him to her like a doll.
“Shh,” she murmurs. “Be still now.”
Held close against her, he now
spirals inward, unreeling
from a fixed point, leaving the doll’s
chassis on the plain of his lover’s touch.
“Don’t worry, I’ve got you,” she says
in a way that once beguiled him, but he isn’t here,
if he ever was. It’s also a chassis this here,
this heavily embodied now.
He knows it’s immaterial, no matter what she says.
He’s already left her, with her real
arms like god’s river, and her touch
at his wrist, taking the pulse of a doll.
“Now, now,” she says, “I’m right here.”
But he floats like a doll on the river of her touch
towards the falls, the drop beguiling and real.