By Richard King Perkins II*

The act of undressing
is not meant
to achieve nakedness

but something else entirely.

You were made so much better
than these poor coverings
could ever indicate—

the soft knell in your throat
reminds me

that you’re plainly hidden
in the sheets beside me.

When that flimsy fabric too
has been undone,
mooring my eyes indefinitely—

I see an unrestrained cathedral
faceted by infinite, trusting stars

amidst the high-relief
of gaunt alleyways

where my beggar’s tin


*Richard King Perkins II is a state-sponsored advocate for residents in long-term care facilities. He is a three-time Pushcart nominee and a Best of the Net nominee whose work has appeared in more than a thousand publications. He lives in Crystal Lake, IL.

4 thoughts on “Alto-Relievo

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