Aimee Ann Norton is a research astronomer with James Cook
University. Her research has appeared in the Astrophysical
Journal, Solar Physics, and National Geographic News among
other places. She is also an emerging poet who has published
in Mascara Literary Review, Many Mountains Moving, Paper Wasp,
Byline and Literature in North Queensland (LiNQ). She is a dual
citizen of Australia and the USA. She won an Australian
national poetry competition judged by Anthony Lawrence.

Come Here

When the soup isn't worth warming, come here.
Arms needn't echo the emptiness of bowls.

Let my body breathe a boundary around you.
The easy animal of me is outside time. Listen.

Hear the lull of my blood being honeyed into bone.
Within the lushness of each others limbs,

our torsos tell stories, singing skin to skin and
the sharp surprise of eye teeth bared by joy.

Come here, bloom as an instinct, unfold
like insect wings to reveal this gift -

warmth in the body - both balm and source
of perrenial alms. Touches, riches,

uncountable, unaccountable.


Powerful, this nothing,
this sugar pill of permission.

Smaller than a button, slipping
through holes of the possible.

A mere two-calorie,
lactose-coated whim

mustering the troops
by blonde suggestion.

Decisions for a Quiet Revolt

Refuse insurance.
Drink water.
Make eye contact.
(I mean, look
your lover in the eye.)
Greet small with ceremony.
Meet big the same way.
Sew a flag of old undies.
Hoist your luggage,
up a mast.
Read an autobiography.
Raise children.
Watch a bird.
Sand corners.
Occupy a border.
(I mean, move calmly
near your edges.)
Shield something injured
with your entire body,
hands wide.
Turn over stones.
Make room.

Then, after all these things,

On the One Hand

My sisters-in-law and I are five fingers dangling
from a farm-hardened hand. We turn the pages of albums,
find ourselves holding the same bouquets and babies.
We touch surfaces and faces unanimously:
caresses, slaps, the twitches of dreams.

The five of us forgive each other our children
and hairstyles, or lack thereof. We are happy enough
to be soothed by syllables of a shared last name
seen on birthday cards and speeding tickets, alike.
Our identity can rest in our laps, necessary, small.

We act as a family cuticle working to keep every nail
in its bed. Other times, we are lunula, pale moons at the base
of each finger's horny surface. We stay quiet. We watch
as the calcium crescents of tiny traumas and itty-bitty blows
march the days forward with the indifference of growth.

While on the one hand, we are all keratin
holding in the layers of life. We watch out for,
and look forward to becoming, the bone below -
the sharp turtle beak of family.

Hidden in folds, known for the strength of its snap,
the beak is a lucky surprise found in the domestic,
unexpected places of a pillowcase, or an underwear drawer.
Reach in expecting softness, but get broken skin.
Oh marvelous token of kin!

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