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French Braids


While one hand is content to touch, admire

A balanced, careful weave—preserve for viewing

The beauty and the boundaries of desire—

The other hand is busy at undoing.

The quiet hand counsels restraint; afraid

To wreck the composition of composure,

It's wary of destruction just for fun.

The other wants to slip between each braid,

To tease apart the strands, let run, spill over,

Release, unbind, what was so neatly done.

Your urgent kiss decides which hand is played.

A gentle pull brings argument to closure.

Surprised, my hands attempt to catch your hair:

It falls the way the rain lets go the air.


Robert Crawford



© 2001; originally printed in The Cumberland Poetry
.  Reprinted by permission of the author.


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