I love nothing quite like I love your hands
when you’ve just returned from drawing class,
the pads of your thumbs smudged dark,
charcoal dust settled in the lines of your knuckles,
a few dark and careless storm clouds obscuring
the otherwise sunny maps of your palms.
There is mystery to these impermanent marking,
these artists’ tattoos,
like the brand of some secret society to which
I could never belong.
I picture you meeting your fellow members in dark alleys,
all of you silently presenting your stained palms
as proof of your legitimacy, then dispersing
with your pencils and your sketchbooks
to perch on overturned trash cans and document the world.
is that what you would be doing now
if you weren’t here with me instead,
pressing faint carbon fingerprints
into the bare paper skin of my back?