Poetry Monday: Dorianne Laux’s “The Thief”

I love Dorianne Laux‘s “The Thief”  which appears in The Erotic Spirit.

What is it when your man sits on the floor/ in sweatpants his latest project/ set out in front of him like a small world, maps/ and photographs, diagrams and plans, everything/ he hopes to build, invent or create, …

It’s so visual, and I perfectly understand the narrator’s dilemma as the poet’s run-on sentence draws me swiftly into the poem. In fact, there is only one period in the whole of it.

… and you are torn,/ not wanting to interrupt his work/ but unable to keep your fingers/ from dipping into the ditch of his pants,/torn again with tenderness/ for the way his flesh grows unwillingly/toward your curved palm, toward the light,/as if you had planted it this sweet root, …

It’s a beautiful irony that his passion for his work begets her passion for him, which in turn supplants the very thing that inspired it.

… and he hears you, calling him away/… into the shapeless place you are bound/ … into the soft geometry of the flesh … stealing him back from the world he loves/ into this other world he cannot build without you.

This is why I wanted to read more poetry:  beautiful metaphors like “the soft geometry of the flesh.”

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