Intimacy by Sarah Wolfson

 POEM TITLE: Intimacy POET NAME: Sarah Wolfson POEM: By now they know the puppy defecates four times a day, can predict when he will nap or nip. They know the man’s neck reddens before public speaking and after too much  wine. The woman finds a small lump, commits to memory its rubbered contours,  its manner of affixedness. The house stands. And stands. Despite minor earthquakes and endless freeze-thaws. In spring  the neighbour girls call out after their small lost grey cat: “Georgie, Georgie,” voices thin and innocent as in the start of a film that will go scary.  They have turned fifteen and procured cocaine,  one small blue bag of which washes up on the lawn come morning. They go for Slushies,  expose their midriffs to the promise of sun. English demands a certain order: The small lost grey cat, the tiny irregular rubbery  lump. The large slow-blooming jagged disaster. It’s April. Stubborn brown house finches molest the sagging old soffit. Twigs occupy the drainpipe. Intimacy  means smiling at the neighbour girls each morning  knowing that night their parents will drink themselves silly and breathe howling life  into a generation of songs better off left dormant. Another neighbour, single and dour, nonetheless comes like the dickens  during summer thunderstorms. Somewhere below, racoons bellow. Everyone knows  which corners of the kitchen collect which particulate, the minor tambor of the snoring dog upstairs, the thump  of his master, the hum of beans in the grinder, the shout of the worker followed by the quiet  as he breaks for food. They know someone makes small porcine groans of pleasure when consuming gravy. That someone else’s voice  goes husky when speaking of fountains or jaguars or the sun. There’s a quiet credentialing in knowing the contours of the beetle’s wing of everything. END OF POEM.  CREDITS AND BIO: Copyright © Sarah Wolfson Sarah Wolfson is the author of A Common Name for Everything, which won the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry. Her poems have appeared in Canadian and American journals including The Walrus, The Fiddlehead, TriQuarterly, Grain, PRISM international, CV2, and Michigan Quarterly Review. Originally from Vermont, she now lives in Montreal, where she teaches writing at McGill University.