15 December, 2004Issue 4.1Creative WritingOriginal Poetry

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Mask

Michael Donkor

I do not notice
the roughness of your

thumb
at the bottom of my spine.

Impatiently, you try to
press me out of sleep.

Your fingers, quick witted,

achieve a small, unrecorded victory.

Nimbly, they have crept past
barrier
of baggy T shirt, and contacted cool skin.

But.

But your hand is too dry,
too warm against me- like, like
the scratch of a cough in the throat,
or, like, like buttons too tightly buttoned,
stretching until a sting and a rip-

As if the breath she breathes

is a drunken fug
the body recoils back, back, arches away,
away-

or at least it wants to.

But I cannot.

I must pretend I am asleep.