“Sometimes Even My Knees Smile” by Diane Wakoski

You have replaced Beethoven
in my life.

My bones are piled up in neat little
waiting for you to
put them in your pocket.

The prickly movement under my skin,
an alligator stranded on the desert,
is your mustache
which I have been stealing, hair by hair, in your
sleep each night.

A brown thrasher is pecking at my throat.
The breath of birds
that passes over my wrists and nipples
opening the umbrella,
is your touching. I would open up anything
even my belly or crack open my bones
for you.

I would give you
except a poem. Those I hold close
like diamonds up the ass in an African mine;
even those I would
give too
if you asked
but it is Beethoven you replaced
in my life.
And he had music so loud in his head
he didn’t need words.
The poet is the lover who can’t speak to—
isn’t heard by—
his love.

Diane Wakoski, Emerald Ice: Selected Poems 1962-1987

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