What I Mean When I Rest My Hand on Your Ankle

Written by Charlie Bondhus

I’m here

and so is my arm
should you wish to have it
girdled about your waist
like a green sash that will protect your life
knotted in passion’s cinch
or looped in love’s easy bow.

I wish to inhabit you

but first I need to check
your temperature
to see if my heart can sustain
the hothouse of your body
the swirling currents of warm air
and bits of dew that condense and evaporate
in the same minute.

I’d like to tell you

that I find the coal and silver hairs on your leg
to be a delicious and sweaty metaphor
for the temporal dynamics of our couplehood,
our feelings as shiny as a new apple
and as old as the idea of apples.

I think feet look vestigial

the ankle bone
a dinosaur’s egg
and I acknowledge this
as a weirdness that we share
so let us celebrate
the ungainly, misshapen knobs
and bolts of our humanness.

I am aware of you

in a way that goes beyond
the awareness of a shared couch, the same movie,
the same ziti and vodka sauce in our stomachs,
matching wine glasses, the dog stretched
at the foot of the couch in a living line,

and I want you to be aware of all this,
of me,
and of the fact that I
am aware of all this.

I want to believe that your muscles’ ridges,
the hard and soft harmony of your tissue
is a kind of Braille
and that if I just study it long enough
I will understand exactly what you mean

when you tell me you love me.