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.