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On guard World’s Best Poem

On guard World’s Best Poem

I want you for my bodyguard,
to curl round each other like two socks
matched and balled in a drawer.
I want you to warm my backside,
two S’s snaked curve to curve
in the down burrow of the bed.
I want you to tuck in my illness,
coddle me with tea and chicken
soup whose steam sweetens the house.
I want you to watch my back
as the knives wink in the thin light
and the whips crack out from shelter.
Guard my body against dust and disuse,
warm me from the inside out,
lie over me, under me, beside me
in the bed as the night’s creek
rushes over our shining bones
and we wake to the morning fresh
and wet, a birch leaf just uncurling.
Guard my body from disdain as age
widens me like a river delta.
Let us guard each other until death,
with teeth, brain and galloping heart,
each other’s rose red warrior.

Marge Piercy
from What Are Big Girls Made Of?

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