by Sara Kaplan-Cunningham
On the phone with my sister this morning,
She tells me: most people fall in love
With the first person they touch. The first one
To touch them back.
My hamstrings ache from bending over,
Ripping excess grass from the earth.
The first man I touched liked it
When I bent over. Sometimes I felt him
And thought he could be a machine, the predictability
Of his hands. I believe my father
Is a good man. What a thing
To be. Every night, I walk the dog
Down the street & my father follows
Me, ducks behind wind-blown ferns
And tree branches cracked like wishbones.
I pretend I don’t see him, for him.
When I got my first tattoo, the blade sawed
Into my bicep, buried the black ink like a seed
Until a leaf blossomed, red and sticky with blood
Like sap. My old lover will never see this new body
Of mine. Skin I reimagined.
This is not the first time I’ve allowed someone to carve into me,
Fit me into a slot after shaving me down.
I still think about the first person who touched me.
I walk the dog every day.
About the Author
Sara Kaplan-Cunningham grew up outside Boston, Massachusetts and currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia studying English and Creative Writing at Emory University. Her poetry is forthcoming in The Sea Letter.