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Tenderness of Unknown Hearts (a poem)

Painting by Jim Dine

Painting by Jim Dine

digital photo slurs an approximation of your face

selfie’s awkward shoulder undisguised

fluorescence bluing the outline of your shadow

butcher knife dedicatedly fileting chicken breast

sunshine glinting on unmanned motorcycle

a candid presentation, self-conscious

advertisement of your desire

to be known


words launced a boat in a bottle

necking stretched out a hopeful

respectfully tentative toe, just breaking into

unknown waters

based on a face, some words sketching

a profile out of experience and expectation

can you lick the icing off a cupcake and still desire its contents?

can you draw the future from an erased whiteboard of hopes relinquished?

rejecting possibilities jumping beyond in imagination

a sketchily portrayed encounter

a brushing of words spoken or typed

a beverage tentatively sipped, conversation conveying depths far beyond the

limitations of words or gestures

a heart torn out and replaced hand-sewn

birthing a new story

the day after the tsunami

Embarking on a dozen notebooks

rafting to hearts unknown

finding difficult passage

fearing to ravage the tender areas unmapped

with an ill-placed word with meaning known only within another

launching an endeavor despite certain risk

the awkward compassion left silently unexpressed

knowing only the reluctance

and the difficulty of negotiating

the tenderness of unknown hearts


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