“Hedgehog’s Song” by Henry Peter Bunch

for Crystal Joy Vagnier

Strange to feel your nimble hand
touch mine – a thoughtless accident
I thought at first—I passed you papers & you
pressed your fingers over mine. But when
you pressed again you startled me—
a cold spark jumped from spine to heart

struck the burnt-out chanters of my heart,
half that night I thought of your warm hand
felt it turn a key & open me.
Drafts set adrift as if by accident,
their papers flying off the sill as when
a guest leaves all your windows open & you

find your living room a howling mess. You
entered next week’s class – my iron heart
glowed hot enough to bend ~ & later when
we all passed out our poems & your hand
touched mine again I saw no accident
in how you bravely reached for me.

By touch you tried to recreate me
in your image, just as I now shape you
in my reveries, these accidental
shimmers flashing on my soaring heart
amongst the cumulus, a red clay hand
caressing stratonimbus when

(a (plosive (ring) ≀ class) ended). When
koans (echo) apprehend me
may they wash me off my way, my hands
spread out against their waters. You
kept blowing on my driftwood heart
to turn it back… Why start this accident

with me? How serious an accident
do you propose? I then remembered when
my ex & I had parted ways, how heart
& soul broke down, how all things blurred in me.
I asked myself if I could see you
clearly now, if I could grasp your hand,

our hands together, crushed in happy accident,
if you were a mirage, if I could bear it when
you left me, if my heart could bear it all.

Henry Peter Bunch is a poet, civil servant, and father to two boys. He holds an M.A. in Creative Writing from City College, where he co-won the Jerome Lowell Dejur Award for Poetry, and a B.A. in English & Fine Arts from Alfred University, where he won the Mary Wager Fisher Literacy Prize for Poetry. His work has been published in Love’s Chance Magazine and Promethean.

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