The socks came in a pack of five.
What is the most boring subject
possible? Translucent blue
with punctures pierced to shape
a star around the ankle.
I carried them along the aisles
as if I needed them. I fingered
lacquered dishes and the rubber heads
of mallets, crystal trinkets
stitched to underwear.
Wherever you go, this buffering.
A dull hour. All that time
I could have touched you and didn’t
or did absentminded, getting in
or out of bed or trying to reach
something behind you.
I didn’t need anything
I could buy. I bought the socks
and a slatted spoon I haven’t used.
Blue interrupted by the living points
of constellated skin. I’ve been
looking for a long time
at the stretch of table where you had
your hand. I am afraid
to touch it. Love, all I’ve ever
seen is things in airless dense
configuration and no transparency.


Copyright © 2017 by Margaret Ross. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on July 14, 2017, by the Academy of American Poets.

About this Poem

“I was thinking how description is a funny form of touch, in some sense more lifelike than what a hand does. It tries to make something distant feel close, so even apparently impassive description contains a low-grade longing, like a pilot light.”
—Margaret Ross