Oils of Soft Fingers

by S. Thomas Summers
The Writer's Block
Highly Commended, August 2009
Judged by George Szirtes


The sofa absorbs early sun,
siphons heat. Already, its paisley
swirls brighten. Small flowers –

petal edges rise like a sylvan Braille,
fertilized by cookie crumbs, potato chip salt.
I ask some unseen vine to tighten

its itchy length around my waist, pull
me beneath the cushions where I’d lie –
a forgotten coin. One day you’ll misplace

your eyeglasses, fail to remember where you
abandoned your keys. As you rummage
through the darkness that bears these

cushions, you’ll rediscover me, polish
my ache with the oils of soft fingers.


This is a lovely vignette - that sylvan Braille is nicely found - and the warmth and sensuousness of it are beautifully conveyed. My one uncertainty is about the ending, that may be either a bit too complete or maybe not quite enough. The lost coin image is at the core of the poem. Maybe we should have a little more of the coin as coin at the end. --George Szirtes

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