Being Partial

by Emily

George Quasha

I was a man
and I was trying to save a woman in danger.

I picked her up in my arms
and flew.

Flying like a frog swimming in air
I ditched our nameless pursuer

and landed. There was a guy
waiting for us

who looked
like a king.

Now I have to accept the punishment

for saving the woman.

we have to take a shower.
The effect is to loosen

the skin from the muscle
until it peels off.

The woman
picks up the pieces of my skin and

holds them in her hands
and says: I will love each of these

as I loved you.
And I thought: This is what is called

Fetish. And suddenly it came to me that the origin
of the word is fe– as in female, soft, loving, silken —

plus –tissue. Like tissues flying.
Voicing particles waking in waves

over a living body
of water

loose at last

I’ve always been fascinated by the origins of words, and the ways those origins can affect the meaning and depth of words now. So rarely do people consider the true meaning of the things they say or the way they say them. The sensitivity to words in this poem is phenomenal.