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Proximity
By C. Dale Young


I have forgotten my skin, misplaced my body.
Tricks of mind, a teacher once said: the man
with the amputated right arm convinced he could

feel the sheets and air-conditioned air touching
the phantom skin. There must be a syndrome
for such a thing, a named constellation of symptoms

that correspond to the ghost hand and what it senses.
This morning, I felt your hand touch me on the shoulder
the way you would when you turned over in your sleep.

What syndrome describes this? Not the sense of touch
but of being touched. Waking, I felt my own body,
piece by piece, dissolving: my hands, finger by finger,

then the legs and the chest leaving the heart exposed
and beating, the traveling pulses of blood
expanding the great vessels. The rib cage vanished

and then the spine. If your right hand offends you,
wrote Mark, cut it off and throw it away,
for it is better for you to lose a part than to lose

the whole. But I have no word for this phantom
touch, and the fully real feeling of the hair
on your arm shifting over my own as your hand

moved from my shoulder and out across my chest.
Desire makes me weak, crooned the diva,
or was it Augustine faced with his own flesh?

Whisper me a few lies, god, beautiful and familiar lies.

--------

Once again we did not end up getting to Baltimore for the science festival. It was cool (magnificently so!) and rainy, and we had a late start on the morning, so since my parents had asked to go see The Bourne Ultimatum with us and then out to dinner, we did that in the afternoon. This was definitely my favorite of the three movies, in large part because Joan Allen had a better role, though I thought Matt Damon was very good particularly in the latter half of the movie when he was piecing Bourne's life together with flashbacks overlaying the present. I realize I am vastly in the minority here in terms of this movie's commercial audience, but I really wished they'd stop having motorcycle, car and foot chases right when something emotionally interesting is starting to happen. (Someone who's read the books: What's the backstory on Bourne and Parsons, anyway? I thought we were going to find out she was his sister or the mother of his child or something, but they dropped the whole thing!) Plus we got the American Gangster preview, yay!

Since we had taken my parents to the movie, my father took us to Hamburger Hamlet for dinner. My mother got older son Comic Book Guy's Book of Pop Culture, which we took turns reading aloud -- it is screamingly funny for nerds like us, I don't know how we never saw it before! I had to work on some articles when we got home, and I finished the one on Chase Masterson that probably no one will read, but after fighting with the one on Kate Mulgrew for half an hour because it's based on a month-ago appearance where she says the same stuff she said everywhere else that month, and trying to load web pages with an interview with George Takei with headers indicating he's saying the same stuff he's been saying for two years, I gave up with a headache. Reading about the situation in Israel with refugees from Darfur and the mess in the wake of Hurricane Dean have done nothing to improve it, so I am going to go collapse.


A sheep and lamb at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair.


The sheep were mostly very friendly and happy to be petted, so younger son -- who has been itching to pet a sheep since Wales -- was very happy.


Not all the goats were so sociable, though this one was. I can't remember the breed -- such tiny ears! And this one won a big ribbon.


The majority of goats were more interested in eating than greeting.


There were also exotic Syrian sheep, like these, said to be descended from Jacob's flock in the Bible...


and two different varieties of alpaca...


...and a llama, who came with the inevitable warning sign: "Animal may spit!"


I know I owe a whole bunch of people here phone calls and e-mails ([livejournal.com profile] gblvr, [livejournal.com profile] vertigo66, [livejournal.com profile] perkypaduan, I have not forgotten you!l)...my kids have a half-day of orientation this Thursday and a full day next Monday and then they're back on a regular schedule, can you forgive me for a few more days? We haven't found binders or protractor sets yet!

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