Poem 291 ± March 21, 2016

Kenny Fries
Mortal Thoughts

More than your shirt I’m wearing.
More than the wildflowers in the field.
The purple will yield to yellow—

when it turns red I will not be here
to see it. The weight I feel is not
the weight of your body. When I touch

your skin I am trying to remember it—
It is not your skin I need to remember.
Nor this particular shade of violet

flattering the field. When your tongue
entered my mouth this morning I tasted
that flower— I know each year the same

color will return. When I take off
your shirt tonight I will anticipate
the red waiting to overtake the field.


kenny friesKenny Fries is the author of The History of My Shoes and the Evolution of Darwin’s Theory (Da Capo Press, 2007), which received the Outstanding Book Award from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights and Bigotry, and Body, Remember: A Memoir (University of Wisconsin Press, 2003), as well as the editor of Staring Back: The Disability Experience from the Inside Out (Plume, 1997). His books of poems include Anesthesia (The Advocado Press, 1996) and Desert Walking (The Advocado Press, 2000). He received the Gregory Kolovakos Award for AIDS Writing for “The Healing Notebooks.”  His forthcoming book, In the Province of the Gods, received the Creative Capital grant for innovative literature. He teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing Program at Goddard College.

“Mortal Thoughts” appears in Desert Walking and is reprinted by permission of the author.