Sleeping Sheep / obediah michael smith

for T.L.C.

hand for a handshake, pliers to close
not the one I want to close about me
without clothes

offered to me to refuse or make use of
fill with my own

the handshake, whose idea anyway
from how long ago

acceptable from others offered, not from her
what I’ve been trying to explain
handshake offered, case in point

arm’s length, distance between us two
who have met 4 times in 4 years
hardly more than strangers still

online buddies that we are, would not
upon parting, shake hands

passion-filled small hand
grip invited to insert my grip in

I’d lift her up, wheel or whirl her round
before I put her down,
not wanting to

when we could, in person, connect like that
make contact like that
passionate encounters

into what areas of each other we had ventured
before disaster struck

used to storm the Bastille of her innocence
revolution in every conversation

allowed to do it, welcomed me
until I crossed a line
act she thought unpardonable

I was in her before she knew or could resist
I often ended up inside her
she had to catch up quick, decide to accept

back for other rounds, for more of this
how assured she seems, much more mature

are we back for poetry also, to advance it,
hers and mine, that of all mankind


has published numerous books of poems, the most recent being a bilingual Spanish-English collection released this year, Wide Sargasso Sea and 62 Other Poems, among other works.  He has published widely in journals, and his work has been translated into Spanish and included in anthologies and journals in South America, Mexico and Spain.