There’s not much of interest here,
        lumina, fingernails,
risen veins, joints, tendons,
        skin wrinkles,

but when you give me it,
        it’s like the slap
of a backhanded compliment,
        or a sharp rap

on the knuckles,
        and my eyes smart,
bad blood rushes between us,
        it becomes evident

there will be no turning
        your hand around,
no new grip of friendship,
        no open palm,

just that flick of wrist telling me
        I shouldn’t complain,
your perfected dismissive gesture
        of utter disdain.

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This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 28 Number 3, on page 26
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