Thursday Poem

How Do You Do?

All hands are out in the street today,
straining against the leashes of forearms.
Little concerned with us, they leap
to greet each other, tangle and clasp,
a subtle suction, like a kiss,
then off again in a friendly game
of overlord and underdog
we only understand in part.

Sometime later, folded in prayer,
or contemplation, right says to left,
if anything should happen to me
you’ll know, won’t you, what to do?

and left says to right, you’ve always kept me
friendless and illiterate.

We really ought to get them to shake,
but it’s not clear they fit that way.

by Jeff Dolven
The Hopkins Review, Spring 2009