“forced feels” poem by Emma Wilson

forced feels

poem by Emma Wilson


on the table must be brushed off

with a quick hand and collected by the other.


of orange remnants must be scrubbed

with equal roughness. calluses scrape the surface,

fingernails knead dirt

in the kitchen and the garden.


other fingers need my skin

to trace

the latent architecture of bones

and make patterns of

raised hairs on the back of an arm

that once seemed out of place, a violation

of form.

now things are clearer

and they compose a landscape

simple like sea-grass

that flutters and glistens

as warming whispers move across it.


i miss the feeling of the stucco wall

from which we plucked daddy-long-legs.

struggle is natural to them, their limbs scarcely

attached to one another;

they pulled themselves

apart in my light grasp.

i ran my hand along that wall later –

when the insects were gone –

i didn’t think of you. i thought of braille.

i found a furtive pleasure

and didn’t wish for meaning.