Poetry Explorer- Classic Contemporary Poetry, WINTERLINES, by DANIEL GUTSTEIN



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WINTERLINES, by            
First Line: You're somebody who deals
Subject(s): Hands; Ugliness; Winter


You're somebody who deals
in absolutes -- yes, no, or the way
January's mild light means
bitter flashback year after year.
You clink your silverware,
withdraw your hands when I look.
I know you've been tearing
the skin off your fingers, so why
hide them beneath the table?
You bow your head, wait for me
to look away, out the window.
(I do.) Winterlines blue and blur….
Maybe because it's too warm
for the sky to darken so early….
I can see your face in reflection.
You're about to re-clasp
your knife and fork when you spot
my eyes, at angle, in the glass.
Your father once told you
no one would want your hands,
and though I'd like to, I can't
hold them - those two cold knots
you tighten beneath my palms.
Once, during a thaw, he told you
to keep wearing your mittens.
"No one should have to see such
ugliness," he said. "No one."

Copyright © Daniel Gutstein
http://www.unl.edu/schooner/psmain.htm
Prairie Schooner is a literary quarterly published since 1927 which
publishes original stories, poetry, essays, and reviews. Regularly cited in the
prize journals, the magazine is considered one of the most prestigious of the
campus-based literary journals.







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