The Importance Of Your Distraction

by Cassie

I should be writing about the importance of feminist theory in the national discourse,
or the sobering statistics of gun violence, the cluster effect of it in poor communities.

I should be turning my hand to the double-fisted punch of domestic violence,
the way women and children are beaten and then ignored, a grim tragic ghost we throw salt at.

I should be pouring ink out over the way we still go to war like face-painted barbarians,
blood and money smelling of muddy greed, settling in under fingernails and behind the ears.

I should be pounding out odes to immigrant orphans, stanzas swinging from the rope of capital punishment, verses making the sign of the cross over the demonization of the poor

and yet

the only words that want to come are ones that describe the softness just beneath your bottom lip, an imperfect oval of smooth skin inside the thick bristle of hair, whose silvering is one more subtle sign of our aging.

And the only songs I can think to sing over paper and pencil sound like the music of the muscles
in your throat standing out beneath the stroke of my thumb, and how the world becomes muted
with my ear pressed to your chest, reminding me of the diminishing whistle of the trains, how they grow smaller as they struggle through all this summer growth.

It’s like the exhortations of an earnest young preacher I once knew: be in the world, but not of it. And so it is with the importance of your distraction, the a-bomb of your hand with a fistful of my hair, how I explode outside of myself, looking down on the ruins of me, waiting for my breath to build my body back up from rubble.

This is the world, the heavy weight of your arm across me, and I am in it; that is the world, those stories, and I am too moved by the moonlight on your white skin to reach beyond our bedroom for my pen.