Jody Azzouni


Deus Ex Machina

Originally published in The Peninsula Review Winter/Spring, 1999
Added 7/24/2021
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Deus Ex Machina

Poem | Jody's Notes


Some gifts simply will not go away: instead,

like magic, they break sullenly in the fickle hand

(should it tire of them). They leave

splinters, pointy relics, in even the

shallowest of palms. You

know this now; for my touch has gotten

under your skin, and given birth.

Despite yourself, you nurse

our subcutaneous child each time

you bathe; you tickle the embryo god

each time you touch your breasts

(or let someone else rest a hand there). In return,

as intrusive as rain,

our godspring transforms each caress,

no matter how contemporary,

into my familiar ghost.


The god has tampered with me, too

(for you are not alone in this): I

am elusive now; neither in space

nor time, nor in the vanishingly thin squeak

of the telephone. No, I live now

(and it is a fine life, all things considered),

sandwiched between your skin,

and everyone else. I am

only tactile these days: available to you

at a touch, even if you shake hands

with a total stranger, and whisper to yourself

hopefully, “This, at least, is innocent.”