“Jonathan’s Arms” by Deidre Price // 2016 Poem-a-Day Challenge

Poetry / Thursday, April 7th, 2016

Jonathan’s Arms

I’ve had them longer than I haven’t had them,
my husband’s arms.

They found me first at seventeen
outside Ronald McKinney’s parents’ house after curfew,
our toes numbed by Florida grass at a February midnight.
In the cornflower Crown Victoria, he held one hand
as I twisted the elastic of the air freshener with my other hand
as tight as it would go then let go to watch it spin,
again and again and again to release my own tension,
a cardboard top suspended in air
as we must have been.

Those arms found me and loved me well:
white roses,
water crackers,
Fudpucker’s shifts,
fortune cookies
and boom
they found our daughter and loved her well.

His right arm shared a rest with mine
while Vegas-bound
where we’d promise to share armrests and center consoles
for better or for worse.

His left would find my right in restaurants
where we’d sit out of order and bump against one another
as children who could not keep our hands to ourselves
and hence the son and second daughter.

We are still children who cannot keep our hands to ourselves.
His arms find me nightly as though we are bunkmates telling scary stories
about cubicles and mortgages, taxes and our health insurance–
we laugh about monsters, idiots, Joel Osteen,
holding books and babies better than our tongues,
keeping one another at arm’s length always.

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