Touch
Jay Surdukowski

I notice the watercolor brush
of your eyebrows as you say watch.
Fingers smoothing petal ears
you ease him into the tank.
Tiny sniffs: chips of cedar,
a plastic aloe plant tipped to one side,
glass walls misted with our breath.
The mouse patters velvety mulch
with searching nose, whisker touch,
he looks for your hand.

Nothing can prepare us for it.
Shock of jaw snap, suffocation,
silence of warmth leaving the body.
The head goes down first
as April sprinkles the roof,
fills the woods with scent.
You walk off, rummage mail.
And I remember your drink-heavy head,
backseat of our taxicab,
holding my fingers carefully,
smoothing each one, not breathing.