Issue > Poetry
James Harms

James Harms

James Harms is the author of nine books of poetry, including the forthcoming Rowing with Wings (Carnegie Mellon University Press). He teaches in the MFA Program at West Virginia University.

The Gods


My mother asked me
to take a picture of you.
I think she thinks she
might never meet you,
and I wonder that too.
How do I explain this,
that my mother wants
to believe in you as I do,
to see your face like
a slim trace of moon
surprising an afternoon sky.
Should I ask you to pose
as I pull my phone more
or less casually from my
pocket. Should I say,
"Hold still, my love"
which is like asking my mother
to rise from her wheel chair
and dance? Or should I ask
a friend to watch
for the moment when our
eyes are closed, when you
won't notice the flash of his
phone as my tongue
slides into your mouth and
for seconds like slow hours
we slip our skin and blend
into a single shape: a kiss,  
which is how the gods
solved the problem of
separate selves.  
My mother would like me
to be less alone. It would
help if she could see
your face.

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