When I was young, all I could thinkabout was touch, the way my body could
stumble and fall against concrete,against summer-warm asphalt,
the way my hands would scrapeand bleed against it, the way I'd
reach for her touch and attention,she'd say, "Sweet Pea" and I'd
forget any hurt. When I was young,
she told me to stop touching everything,grass blades, stingy weeds, bottoms of shoes,
my face, these things were all "dirty,"but I wanted to collect the colored caps
and glass bottoms like blossoms,imagine them as people and tilt their ends into a kiss.
I wanted to jam them into pockets andhear them clink together like bells.
Once, I picked a condomoff of the ground, coddled it, and
stuck the white latex to my lips,until my mother smacked it
away. "Are you crazy?!"she yelled in the middle of the street.
"Don't touch anything." [End Page 1011]