by Carl Dennis


If the body is the house of the soul,


What’s wrong with a little home decoration


More permanent than the drapes in the parlor


Or the fabric on the dining-room chairs?



A forearm, say, adorned with a tropical flower


Or with a palm tree under a deep blue sky,


Suggesting the body is glad to recall


Its stay in Eden, whether or not the soul


Regards that episode as relevant now.



Or consider the young waitress


Who served you lunch just an hour ago,


How her sleeveless blouse revealed


A small heart on her shoulder


Inscribed with two names, Dave and Gretchen,


Under a sprig of lilac.



No need to assume she’s failed to imagine a time


When a boyfriend more congenial


Wakes up beside her only to be reminded


There was once a Dave who was all she wanted.



Could be she wants to send a reminder


To the Gretchen she may become


Not to forget the girl who believed


That holding on was a project worthy


Of all the attention that she could muster,


As much a challenge as letting go.


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