I have a friend who measures desire
by stillness, who is most turned on
by the person in the room who meditates
without flinching. The librarian, too,
in the Manuscripts Division, handling
the patron who can’t seem to stay seated
warns: I will serve you the smallest items first
as a knit sweater slides off a chair’s back
into a loose knot. All day we could have
watched clusters of blue bottle gentians
flexing their umbrellas open and shut
as bumblebees submerged head-first
into one bloom after another,
dizzy subspaces, partially open
paper dressing rooms, trying on things
till they’d wrapped themselves
in a good dusting of pollen. Everywhere
intimate containers seem to be in motion.
The raised bed full of squash flowers.
The black latex glove masking
the bare hand ladling bowls
of wedding soup for the lunch crowd.
My quick pedal revved by the world.
Copyright © 2020 by Jenny Johnson. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on December 17, 2020, by the Academy of American Poets.