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Diane Raptosh


The Forearm Poem

Praise the way it lies there, lazy foothill,
elevation as no big thing. The way
it smells yeasty and sweet as light maple,
even as a lick spells lemon. A sheen
accompanies its seashell-sound. A thing is about

what it leaves out, Dizzy Gillespie says:
the elbow, wrist, hand; and the rest of its
shagged contour flung out over the rolled down window
from the driver's seat. Praise the fact
there's nothing idle in a slope. Or a valley,

for that matter. Think of the gully coursing
from midline of the nose to lend a hand shaping
the lip. That's a philtrum. Everything attracts
everything else. Under a strong microscope
the skin on the arm is a landscape of creases

and nicks, damp hairs sized to redwood trees,
and giant boulders of dirt. If the blue heart
of time lapped slowly enough, we could watch
mountains grow. Praise. I've witnessed trees bloat
and shrink to the rhythm of tides. This is nothing

compared to the quivering motions of
forearms' bunched tissues, fine and untamed
as republics of lovers. Given eons enough, eggs
gone unwhisked; perfumes will snake
back into bottles, quiet as the way love

slinks in, a mouse under the skin. Let us
praise that. Flesh and earth:
the universe's quirks. Here's asking
from the highest registers of the bent
trumpet's range: Do not wave good-bye to me again.


Diane Raptosh has published two books of poetry, Labor Songs (Guernica, 1999) and Just West of Now (Guernica, 1992). She has also published widely in journals in the U.S. and Canada.
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