reaching around for you

Every invitation to lie back under concealing foliage
resembles in some way that earliest invitation
to wander the heady orchard in the long sharp afternoon.

Or to slip naked into the slough
with the wiry boy who peeled each apricot—
as if slightly uncertain how to partake of it—

and savored: dribbling it down his damp chest,
between his long clammy legs, and moistening
his whole delinquent body with pleasant juices.

The river rocks globular and slick,
the catfish with its wet dark skin,
and the afternoon’s durable glassy eyes.

I do not mind you closing your own eyes, reclining.
Summoning the image of a lover put away.
Because virtue is hardly what either of us saved

from our separate, desperate beginnings. And because
stonefruit from a tin is almost as good as fresh,
when the spiteful frost arrives.


D.A. Powell. “Reaching Around For You,” from Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys. Copyright (c) 2012 by D.A. Powell. Reprinted with the permission of Graywolf Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota,

D. A. Powell is the author of five collections of poetry, including Chronic, winner of the Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. He lives in San Francisco.