Paulann Petersen

What my hand learns, my heart
already knows. What -- for an instant
of its longingful life -- I grasp
between thumb and finger's whorling
cushions, grows too in my core:
each sprout, each twig,

any handful of earth pressing
its faint sour molding of leaf,
sweet decay into my palm's own
plumped furrows.
The anywhere-skin's
touch comes out of the heart

and its endlessly-soon-to-be-ended
beating. A hand's stroke, its hold,
are the blood's tingle, its recognition
of hard, succulent, world.
Unhinged and hinged, the bending.
Every hand. Its one wild heart.


Shape of the sun's own
roundness, of a mid-cycle moon
poised at the peak
of its path through night.
A filling, fully glass bowl
floating into this room.
Round ark that holds
the whirl of yin and yang --
every creature's
dark and light aboard.

I circle one fingertip,
gleamed with spittle, along
the bowl's rim.
My tongue has wet
my body's only whorled skin,
so this imprint of me
can brush against
a never-ending edge.
Half a globe. Hollow.
From its pole I hear
an underworld drone.


The bee notes every moment.
Takes notice from a thousand cousins
of each veer and rise
to the hive. Lets go its own
dusted scent bit by bit.
By its flurry makes -- later
to spend -- more esters,
now and now.

Shudder and thrum,
scent accreting. Blur and blunder,
scent cast off to mark
where the bee has been.

Flowers are named for what
they bring -- another flower's
sex and bluster.
Whichever way enough
have traveled -- that becomes
the path home.