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  • Confessions of a Tactile Kleptomaniac
  • C. K. Hutchins (bio)

On an island in the Mirabel Palace garden live thirteen stone dwarves not counting the two guarding the footbridge. The third from the right looks like my father.

Though I have left wishes everywhere (with a penny in the eye of the Kapuzinerberg wall, I turned around the pivot of the turning world), there are things I have stolen,

some with great shame. Pink granite from the walkways of Peterhof, quartz from the sugarpaths of Catherine the Great. A soft little stone from an Auschwitz lane. My father's glasses, smudged with the final salt.

Five cherry tomatoes disappeared from the blue bowl when no one was in the room. Thighs of a lover, a mouth. Stowed in my pocket, a petal from the garland of Milosz' marble tomb. There is nothing abstract about my hands.

When I was finally left alone with them, the dwarves began to move. Pockmarked and frangible, sly, they. Ever so softly shifting positions without shifting positions, the things people do when alone.

Drinking from the spigot. Mumbling eeny meeny miney moe. Blowing up balloons and letting them go, grand elocutions: rescuing a dead starfish by tossing it back to sea, arguing with the radio news, sniffing

an onion for the rush of tears. Eating from the fingers, from the fork upside down, absently licking the blade of the knife. (If everyone pilfered as I do, would there no longer be a world?)

Sliver of railroad tie. A blackened shard of Birkenau's chambers. The gaze of an icon during Orthodox prayer. Cheer of the crowd on the Stadtplatz, it was a World Cup, the energy of thousands loosed on the air. [End Page 94]

I do stow things, too: on a tiny path in Mozart's woods, flute shop of Die Zauberflöte, I found a poem in multiple voices, and under a flat rock I hid it. It named the names, took up a secret, public place.

From an upstairs window of the Mirabel Palace, Debussy rained from the fingers of a Russian pianist. Higher than the patrons' patterned ceiling arched the dusking sky. In the courtyard stood a man without arms,

looking up. He took it, the resonance of the courtyard walls, and so did I. The rain was real. We drank and we bathed. Our hair was wet when it ended.

From Mozart I learned one requiem is all that is required. The stone-bronze dwarf in Mirabel's garden was lent the daemon-spirit of my father, his dying, wild hair. The forehead loomed. It burned, and it cooled.

On each dwarf's body, I touched whatever protuberance or crevice beckoned: tongue of the first, breast, cup of the hand. Bent nose, terrible knot risen on the head, button, a swollen ear.

When I came to my father, I touched the temples, the familiar nose. The garden had emptied. I touched the blank eyes. My lips took the forehead I kissed while he died and was dead.

  • A Way Back to Life
  • C. K. Hutchins (bio)
C. K. Hutchins

Christina Hutchins has recent poems in the New Republic, Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, Denver Quarterly, Southern Review, Southern Indiana Review and Sycamore Review. She has worked as a biochemist and a Congregational (UCC) minister, and she now teaches Whitehead’s philosophy at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.

  • A Traveler Is Met by Shapes of the World
  • C. K. Hutchins (bio)
C. K. Hutchins

Christina Hutchins has recent poems in the New Republic, Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, Denver Quarterly, Southern Review, Southern Indiana Review and Sycamore Review. She has worked as a biochemist and a Congregational (UCC) minister, and she now teaches Whitehead’s philosophy at Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley.

  • Interregnum
  • C. K. Hutchins (bio)
C. K. Hutchins

Christina Hutchins has recent poems in the New Republic, Antioch Review, Prairie Schooner, Denver Quarterly, Southern Review, Southern Indiana Review and Sycamore Review. She has worked as a biochemist and a Congregational (UCC) minister, and she now teaches Whitehead’s philosophy at Pacific School...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1548-9930
Print ISSN
0191-1961
Pages
pp. 94-95
Launched on MUSE
2008-04-04
Open Access
No
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