Free Association

Love:  tight spaces, darkness, trials, Nuremberg.
The movie with Spencer Tracy, who wishes
Marlene Dietrich were not German, not a woman

with mixed loyalties.  My father is German.
His father banished the violin, saying it caused
“too much sensitivity in the boy.”  One lover

accused me of being too sensitive, another,
not sensitive enough.  The plant that folds its leaves
when touched.  My skin feels your touch, still.

A cry, a seagull, an ocean, brine.  The skin,
raw and blistered.  A wound to prod at. Your questions.
your concerned stare.  Your own heart, its walls,

distances that keep us on each side.  The gate
you ask me to open, the slow surrender, reaching arms,
flaming arrows that breach the unspoken truce.

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