Eros of Attention

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.

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