I can scratch animals on their chin.
“All About Me” poster outside an Ann Arbor kindergarten classroom
it just occurred to me: to wonder about what you’re thinking as our bodies move solid and soft together, as you push aside my wool, flannel; cotton around my ankles. I think instead sometimes of evolution: cell division, the natural selections, other coital interminglings. Conjugal seconds and hours; millions of years’ nuclear fission. Cells splitting into new coiled strands, mysterious data like a lab chart, a seed catalog.
Yesterday she delivered baby goats. One kid had its leg tucked up alongside its body. They are supposed to dive out, though: the long journey from liquid to air. The amniotic sac bulged. Then there was fluid. A glistening alien puddle wetted the straw. The glove went up to her elbow. She reached inside to move the leg. Tom, his ears covered with a blue fleece headband, coached: Which side is it on and can you feel the nose? Let me try again okay sweetheart she murmured, intent. (It was like the night before.) I clenched and throbbed in mammal empathy. Noises almost familiar.
We debate what bodies want, and how is that instinct/how we inscribe desires onto the bodies we have, describe: furry, uncertain. Mammals hold each other at times like this, licking fur and eyelids. When we awake to the radio, when I rub the side of your thigh at a party, I ask myself (ask you/ask all of us) what does it mean to be a mammal: who will scratch us on the chin?