Erica Jong

26 March 1942 / New York City

Touch

The house of the body
is a stately manor
open for nothing
never to the public.

But
for the owner of the house,
the key-holder-
the body swings open
like Ali Baba's mountain
glistening with soft gold
& red jewels.

These cannot be stolen
or sold for money.
They only glisten
when the mountain opens
by magic
or its own accord.

The gold triangle of hair,
its gentle ping,
the pink quartz crystals
of the skin,
the ruby nipples,
the lapis
of the veins
that swim the breast. . .

The key-holder
is recognized
by the way he holds
the body.
He is recognized
by touch.

Touch is the first sense to awaken
after the body's little death
in sleep.
Touch is the first sense
to alert the raw red infant
to a world of pain.

The body glimmers
on its dark mountain
pretending ignorance of this.
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