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Fingerprints


ISSUE:  Spring 2015

If you sign up for Global Entry, you can skip the long security lines at airports and will not have to remove your jacket or shoes. 
  —from a travel magazine

 

I’m asked questions about travel—
What countries I’ve visited, how long I stayed.

They press my fingers to a pad then frown
and shake their heads and press again.

They say I have no fingerprints.
(Have I lost them, simply misplaced them?)

They say my skin is smooth as glass—
no grooved lines, no patterns.

I’ve finally become anonymous—
a wave whose ribbed imprint on the sand

has washed away as whorls do in emptying bathtubs,
sucked down the drain, leaving nothing behind.

I’m free now to rob houses,
commit murders leaving no trace.

(My love, if I caress you in the dark, will it seem
as if a knife blade has touched you?)

I’ll wear mittens, clench my fists.
I’ll hide my hands in my pockets

as if they were untrained animals.
As if they were tiny terrorists themselves.

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