Emily Schulten

Mapping His Body

I begin at the three skulls
low on his torso, an idea

from the girl he loved
(or thought he loved?)

when he was sixteen,
a tripod pointing to his then

persistently open heart.
Up the lattice of his ribs,

over his clavicle, around
his shoulder to Jacqueline

with Flowers - I wonder
who she was to him, that he

would pledge the permanence
of his skin, presenting Pablo's

second wife with blossoms
every day. Counting

the freckles to his hand,
his fingertips meet the thigh

that is bare, touching
the one with Don Quixote

where he towers over Sancho,
over the windmills I know

my love also sees as giants.
The landscape's sun

sets and I hide my eyes
in the clean slate between

his shoulder blades, write
and rewrite lines across

his neck with my thumbnail -
the story of where we end up,

an image we are still inking,
indelible and only for us.

Emily Schulten's collection Rest in Black Haw is available from New Plains Press. Her work has appeared in journals such as Salamander, Mid-American Review, North American Review, Prairie Schooner, The New Orleans Review, and others. She holds a PhD in poetry from Georgia State University and currently teaches and works at Florida Keys Community College.

previous: two poems by Dan O'Brien | next: a poem by Gabriel Furshong
issue index