The crease below the palm
is red from your wax sheet:
the shape of a dragon, turned
down to me—
you press the picture to a thin space
over my wrist veins, it sticks, reluctant,
the white back of it showing between
your knuckles and the small hairs.
This is the way of stains: slight erosion
of the topcoat then the opaque intent.
You use your palm’s hollow
to curve and bow the lines.
Here is the tender rush, color sinking
a little winged body, its fire drawn
over and into the lifeline’s valley, as if
to warm this hand, your old place—
Sweet marrow of snapped branches
gathers in the underslots of your shoes
as you walk, clutched,
fastening this dragon to me.
We are walking through your back wood
in heavy weather. The ink will set, and the sun.
The rain like most things does not stop after dark,
it will lie in crosshatches over these red stones.