Two inches in any direction would topple the whole apparatus. But don’t think. Don’t think for godssake don’t talk, embrace the hug. Two inches along the plane defined by the circle of the horizon in any direction, if you must. But stop. You know what happens, people don’t know how to take you, you tempt misunderstanding, the wary eye and muscled intervention when you talk. Stand still and hold her tiny closely and breathe, loosely but closely and breathe with that deep and patient regularity they taught you for years of independent living and longevity, smell her hair and work your process. Never risk the Tuesdays. Fabric in your fingers is just fabric, not the pulse of another heart. She works for you. Her forehead on your collarbone is just another bone despite your need to anthropomorphize human parts into something more meaningful. To her, you’re a client, a patient, which? Are there words more dismissive? You’ve been leaning forward too long, thinking you had something to offer, that you could sustain it, and she has been squirming from your embrace since before it began. It’s just another Tuesday. You’re standing and you know the time. Her arms hang by her sides and still you clutch her. That’s some hug, you hear her say, the breath of three words on your neck. Forget about whether she’s wearing a ring and who might have given or lent it to her and why, the process is what keeps you from the rabbit hole. Compared to the cycle of seven days, your significance to her is nothing. Release her. Feel the small vibration of her careful voice recede and release its Thanks, and stand tall briefly, precariously on your own in the only time of day of the only day you know.

Copyright © September 21, 2007 David Hodges

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