To make the banana naked, crack
its neck and peel its jacket. To make
the bed naked, throw back the sheet
and the cotton blanket and the down one, too,
along with whatever's been whispered to
them in the damp minutes around midnight.
To make the dog naked, let the mange
rake and ravage, the tiny mites like
humpbacked handmaids, plucking a hair,
dropping it overboard, scraping away the skin.
To make the moment naked, take a look
right at it: Under your gaze, the wrapping
of what might happen slides down
its shoulder and slumps to the hardwoods,
drowned in a pool of shadow. Nakedness
means now, the very is-ness of being. Time
is nippling toward us and we dare not
glance aside, dare not toss the subject
out the window, flip the page to stop
the topic of how to bear so much to bare.
Branches in January are naked.
The inside of eggshells is naked.
Wrong notes on the cheap guitar
when the child is tired and sad are naked.
The bike, bound to the stop sign
by a spiral of steel, shorn of its tires,
stricken by the nightglow: naked.
The man's face at the graveside
of his child, a nakedness sheer
enough to tear the fabric of everyone
nearby and leave them dangling there,
threadworn and bleeding out memory,
skinned by the minute that is now upon us,
shaved of everything but the we that are in it.