Gayle Reaves-King, Soft Touch

Soft Touch

Gayle Reaves-King

God spoons up the living mountains like

ice cream, leaving only the luster of his cold breath

as snow clouds in the west. Great mounds of Rocky Road,

a fathom of mint chocolate chip — they disappear

scoop by scoop. There goes Jicarita, most

of Pueblo Peak, all the icy blood of Christ,

as we weave through slush and mud

of Taos streets to serve gingerbread men

at the city homeless shelter. From the platter

they receive offerings with yellow icing shirts,

sugary blue pants, M&M eyes. I wouldn’t bring you

naked cookies, jokes my friend, a skier

with tender heart who cooks in harmony

with animals and worries about men trapped

in the frame of others’ expectations, who manage to be thankful

without the clamor of thanks. For now they

join, warm in this common haven, where listening

is possible and trust just out of reach,

where we are all out of reach just this once,

of dreams shivering in doorways, of death

smiling in his simple tux by velvet rope and stanchion,

of the coyote chorus singing in winter’s blue shade,

beyond the clasp of subzero beauty, God’s chilly embrace.

Gayle Reaves-King is a poet, educator, and Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist. A Texas native, she lives in Fort Worth, has reported from all over the world, and now braves I-35W regularly to teach at the University of North Texas. Her chapbook Spectral Analysis was published by the Dallas Poets Community.

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