205.348.7264 mfj@sa.ua.edu

The Harness, Or Digging Myself To Pennsylvania With A Plastic Spoon

Jessica Hauger


When I was just old enough to walk,
my mother would take me to the Kroger
and set me in the cart while she shopped.
I often imagine that I met you there for the first time –
I reached my stubby fingers across the aisle
and touched yours.
My mother would turn away from the canned green beans
and apologize for me: I usually didn’t touch like that.
But I would,
because now some filament of connection was stretched
between lengthening pointer fingers,
a fiberglass hair, a Chinese finger trap
that would stretch eight hundred miles getting tighter with distance,
pulling around corners and down highways,
over mountains until it finally
shrank, and I saw you in a dirty school hallway
and heard someone whisper your name.
And in between each time I loved you, I fell in love
only with the pieces of you I saw in others, what chance
that we would find ourselves together.
And our touch at last was a release,
joined finally by the harness of minds and bodies,
I have known and loved you all my life.
And now
I find myself missing a place I’ve never been to,
a home I know eight hundred miles away.
The probability of our love
is less than the probability of me digging myself there
with a plastic spoon.
I have known and loved you all my life