Slipping Out of Hand


Didn't your life pivot with mine the day we did nothing together;

The morning you washed, cut my hair; precisely, in that moment 

When your scissors slipped from your grasp,

Your Delilah becoming Damocles, falling swordlike past my face.


Your hand rushing to intercept danger, inches before landing

In my lap and, laughing to cover some deep feeling,

You whispered the thought you almost injured, cancelled

That which you shyly called my ‘manhood'.


What took you so instantly to that one word, 

One thought, its hinted passion, sad regret?

Where was your spirit in those bonded days, 

Had your mind, your heart, slipped before your hand?


Did you hold breath through the bated moment 

waiting, watching for some imagined response,

Some thawing of emotion, melting of restraint?

Your steady gaze studied my eyes as I failed you.


Frozen in the tension, fearful of such immense, illicit desire

This is all I now remember––biting back

The imagination of you, constraining an urgent impulse

To follow your thoughts to their source

To understand the moment, you, us.


In that momentous, consequential, silence I wished:

     Open your hand again, let them slip now, fall as they will

     We’ll brave the risk; let’s play this free together!

But in the vacant moment of decision, we pivoted away 

To safety, and to decades of the familiar.

 © Philip Knight 2018