Proximity Is Everywhere by James R Merrill
A new poem by one of our Firebird Rising authors, Jim is the poet laureate of Keizer, OR. In this time of Covid-19, perhaps the theme of proximity strikes a poignant note. (RW Klarin)
Do you notice the sun on
your back, the sun as a neighbor,
an intimate? It’s a heat-sending force,
reaching down to arrive at the surface.
My cheek, forehead, my hands. And it
goes under the skin – it’s potent, causes
cancer without enough shade — without
huddling together. Young mother with babe
in the shade of her stroller lights up a smoke.
She doesn’t notice or cares not. Proximity is everything.
The children, their parents—every little boy,
every prancing girl—the tattoos, piercings,
the phones, games in the phones. Fashions
the tattered jeans, the sheer leggings—close
to the skin, bodies touch bodies, shapes
on display. Everywhere I go, I see a thing
revealed. The closest things reveal the
bold brash beauty, of proximity.
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