Halfway through the evening he reaches across his chest for the soft hem of his shirt sleeve, rolls it up over smooth bicep, pulls it past rising deltoid just short of the clavicle. His beautiful habit. Needle comes to her senses, falls out of her head into her own muscle and reach. Her hands fold as she charts the path of hardwood on its way to the opposite wall, imagines cool glass beneath magazines against her forehead, counts how many lamps are in the room, which are lit. Needle draws a deliberate breath, exhales. He pulls again, long hair off the back of his neck. Needle wants to trace his chin line, an ear, add commas to passing thoughts, tiny caves, brown curls around her busy fingers. She takes a number, her own sleeve, fingers its ribs asking: whose reach is it anyway? whose eye? blood and breath rush through bellows and fist-sized pumps in the small room where a dog, roused from sleep, wanders to where Needle sits cross-legged on the carpet, open like the unabridged. He puts his chin in her hand, disappears. Needle locates perfect words in the details of a man, this room, her own soft palm, its hot skin, like alphabet soup or an eight ball with all its answers bobbing.

About the Author:Danna Ephland was born in Buffalo NY, danced in Toronto, taught and danced in Berkeley, fell madly in love with poetry in Chicago, and lives now in Kalamazoo, where she teaches writing workshops called The Left Margin. Ephland’s poems have appeared in Rhino, Indiana Review, Folio, and the anthologies Saints of Hysteria, and Villanelles.