Green Hills Literary Lantern

 

 

The Naked Eye

 

If you wash fiberglass curtains in your washing machine, the glass fibers are released into the washer, where they deposit themselves in all your clothes forever.

 

I rushed, madly scratching, to the bathroom,

tossed my underwear, zipped up, returned to class.

 

I cupped the round ends of curtain cords

into a phone to whisper to an imaginary friend.

 

Kim's long black hair washed across my face

as she rode me, sweat swirling down

 

almond skin. In that summer storm,

love's rusty gate blew open and shut.

 

*

Fifteen, biking across Canada, I scratched

till I bled. I got a pamphlet on crabs

 

a razor and some Quell. This is a pamphlet

for Kim, for what I did not say but should have.

 

She claimed she never got my letter,

then said she did, long hair damp with tears.

 

A gift from her old boyfriend, sexual sea monkeys,

so small you could almost imagine them gone,

 

except they itched and clung like sin.

 

*

When she ran off, I peeked out the curtains

to watch her disappear into a black dot

 

down the straight road. I held the imaginary

phone to whisper slivers.

 

 

  

Jim Daniels’ seventeenth book of poems, The Middle Ages, will be published by Red Mountain Press in 2018. Street Calligraphy (Steel Toe Books) and Rowing Inland (Wayne State University Press) were published in 2017. A native of Detroit, Daniels is the Thomas Stockham University Professor of English at Carnegie Mellon University.