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  • Writer's pictureandrew jeter

The Gift

(from the NaPoWriMo prompt: write a poem of gifts and joy. What would you give yourself, if you could have anything? What would you give someone else?)

So, there’s this thing that can happen to older men,

my doctors tell me, where our extremities

become overly sensitive to water.

That’s right, that thing we’re made of,

the thing that keeps us healthy and alive,

we become allergic to it.

When we wash our hands too much,

the skin dries out quickly,

cracking and splitting and breaking.

Bleeding out into the things

we touch if we’re not careful.

Spilling our red water into

the waiting, taking, desiccating universe.

There are cracks I don’t really mind,

on the sides of my fingers

and around the nails.

I’ve grown used to that kind

of itchy, stinging pain,

but when a crack happens

in the bend of the finger

or in the center of my palm,

the stigmata burns

and cannot be easily bandaged.

This happens mostly when

I cook for my husband.

The pain is delicious.

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