She came from the hills with a basket on her head
and a round of goat cheese. She had full skirts
and right away playful hands began to tease their way.
Maybe that’s what her mother had warned against and
what had knit her father’s brow. Her mother had not said
that the hands of men would burn between one’s thighs,
that one’s legs would tremble from wanting to,
that one’s memory would evaporate with the syrupy
heat trickling down one’s body. Maybe it wasn’t
those hands that had agonized her mother’s heart,
and at every stroke the girl would squeal as much to push
them off as to let it all go on, not understanding a thing.

The restlessness of hot summer nights. The men
and the girls having to go out for a breath of air.
One had to put one’s hands