Sestina: Tin Can Call

The summer I turned sixteen, I learned
the burning that happens when contact
is made: flesh and mouths, a new kind of touch.
Kids really, trying to smash ourselves together,
atoms mingling, heeding the old call
looking for The Other who would hear—

The low buzzing we made, like bees, hear
not just our desires but everything we’d learned
about desire—that birth is a call
to the universe; from conception we have contact.
We only survive when we are together.
We learn from being touched what it is to touch.

Hands, eyes, lips, hearts, touch
and understand. Without speaking, we hear:
all that our ancestors have learned
to cultivate society, not just sex as contact
but contact that issues forth the greater call.

String stretched taut, tin can call:
We twin sisters sleep at night, while parents forget to touch.
The line is in place, but loss of contact,
not even scratchy murmurings—hear
vestigial sighs and moans that have become unlearned,
aloneness now safer than being together.

How hard it is to hold together
when our atoms buzz about in empty space, call
to one another only through cosmic forces we can never learn.
And yet, I risk this cosmic touch
of forever, in another, and now hear
the heart beat growing inside me, this impossible yet mundane contact

of creation, of birth—contact
that challenges all notions of aloneness. Together:
on a brilliant night of unexpected lightning. We heard
the call of love, heard the call
that defies sound waves. Our touch
something both old and new but within us, cosmically learned:

We dance the dance of contact, all our being calling,
reaching for togetherness and psychic touch.
I hear without hearing all the universe has learned.

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