Aug/Sep 1998 Poetry

Mrs. Grape

by Shann Palmer

Mrs. Grape

rose in mild discomfort on the makeshift
bed and marveled at her girth, her arms
so rounded white, her dimpled knees.
There were pleasing aspects to the bigness
she endured. How had this rolling billow
of a woman come to be? She had been
something else, there was a part of her
still that was only ample, not amazing.
Dreaming, as she sometimes did between
choking snores that roused her half-awake
to wipe thin lines of drool, turning the damp
pillow, she had not dreamed herself this
way, she had not sensed herself at all. She
could lose her self twice and still not see.

There was a once a man who would take her
wrists above her head, encirling them
between his thumb and forefinger, holding her
not quite immobile there while he plowed and
played on the immense landscape of her.
Feeling the flex of buried muscles, parting
thighs enough to feel a change of air,
she remembered his rough touches.
Her fingers would not make the circle now,
hardly made the halfway mark, she put her
arms up high as if to grasp the headboard,
as she'd done with him, and found they would
not obey but make only a curving arch
that would not reach. She could not touch
herself, never really had even then, but she
needed more than her thoughts could give.

Deep in the night she would perform this
ritual of desire, again and again, her wants
undiminished by the very bulk of her heart,
shallow breathing frightening her with
thoughts of death without knowing a man's
touch where she could not. She wished
for sunlight on her back, faint breeze between
her legs, she wished to grab her toes, running
thumb between each one, scratch behind her
knee. Drifting into this vision,the waxing moon
began it's journey, and she held up her hand
to the light, thumb to index finger in a perfect "O"
marveling at the beauty of what she could hold.


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