Touching, by Joseph Chaney
I’m always touching my face. You see this
in flies. Cats, too, have a way of brushing
their heads with the crook of a licked front paw.
My beard is for touching, pulling, scratching.
I rest my chin or forehead in my hand
in a dreamy or thoughtful pose, like Keats
in the portrait by Joseph Severn, or
the one by William Hilton, after death.
The eyes see without seeing, the head dreams
or reminisces, always somewhere else,
but the hands are here, doing their caring
and exploring, checking in, assisting,
alert in ways the mind can never be,
on call, prepared and waiting, practicing.
Joseph Chaney is the director of Wolfson Press at Indiana University South Bend. He teaches literature and writing. His poems have appeared in The Nation, Prairie Schooner, Yankee, Crazyhorse, Dogwood, and other print journals. Online, his work can be found in Off the Coast, South Florida Poetry Journal, The Apple Valley Review, The Cresset, and the Journal of Humanistic Mathematics.
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