This morning, remembrance paid a call
With something mostly forgotten: that
I had been a boy who once impulsively rose
From behind his schoolroom desk,
When the teacher left the room for a moment,
To buzz around and kiss some of the girls
Sweet little thing, I felt myself to be,
The center of surprised, delighted laughter.
I kissed no more than two or three and only
On the cheek. But Principal sent me home
For the whole rest of the day. Mother was unsympathetic,
Appalled to have me interrupt her life
I sensed I had done no wrong, had indeed been healthy,
Though her strong reaction did not accord with that.
Now this morning typing these words into the computer
I pause and idly place a hand on a haunch of my cat
Who is positioned to receive, inches away.
And this surprisingly feels for a smiling moment
Like resting my hand on some boy’s shoulder.
But most of my life I have not done that. I have
Refrained from touching almost anyone at all.
I see some connection between this seventy-nine-year-old
And that inexperienced boy in grammar school
But I disconnect from that, and I feel fine.