by Charles Manis
I’ve heard people speak of words
printed on paper as sensual, like or better
than sex, an embrace, skillful massage—
a visiting poet once tickled me
in a classroom of my peers, non-metaphorically,
that is, with her fingers.
I was a boy then, not because it was long ago,
but because of how she pointed out my ribs,
made me a rush of blood, a sequence of squirms,
made me grin my self-conscious teeth.
She made a point, probably, to the class,
though it was lost in me or I in it,
spinning at the tip of her finger.
This is to say, I would touch you if I could.