He touched my thumb and asked me if it hurt.
He touched the stars that only went half-way around right thumb and as he signed my name in his ink in his book of photographs; he wanted to know how much pain was involved.
He touched my thumb and I wanted to tell him that I carried around his book of lyrics when I was still contemplating death and just learning how to poem.
He touched my thumb and I wanted to tell him that I got lost inside the footsteps of heroin (the song) and his mirror (poem with sound) and I felt like if I could explain the logistics of my body (at that time), I might have described it as velvet’s underground.
He touched my thumb and asked me if it hurt and I wanted to make sure he’d spell my name right, so even though I had a yellow piece of paper with my french spelling, I still sounded out each letter.
He touched my thumb and I wondered if I should have pulled out a condom (of which I never carried at that time). Although it felt like we were engaging in something far more intimate than sex, this touching still could have yielded babies or bumps.
He touched my thumb and I counted the gathering of wrinkles on his face and each one was a song. And each one was a poem I haven’t written yet. And each one was a memory. And each one was an encore. And each one was a barroom brawl. And each one was a shot of whiskey. And each one was a broken guitar string. And each one was a posed photograph. And each one was a collection of decades drawn closed.
He touched my thumb and the line behind me did not matter. And the snow enraging the pavement outside did not exist. And my overdrawn credit card that I used to purchased his extremely expensive book of photographs was not a worry.
Because he touched my thumb. And suddenly every song he ever growled dug its roots into me. And who I was and what I did in that moment was dust. We said goodbye and the person behind me moved forward. I walked outside in blue coat and shaky skin. And that snow fell on my thumb and wiped his prints away.
Until I went “home” and listened to: