Sheet of studies for Greece on the ruins of Missolonghi, Eugène Delacroix

A friend’s dog trots with a limp
she learned as a puppy, imitating
an older dog who’d gone lame.

A woman I wanted to love me, told me
laborers hired by her employer
out of county lock-up, would pace

the aisle between desks near her office,
waiting for their paychecks, unconsciously
turning at the length of their cell.

Conscience too stops us.
A memory of injuring others,
sometimes ourselves, crimps.

In a wide rude world, where much
must be taken, it hobbles.
Which is why,

when I feel an urge to pull you
as close, as your body seems to want,
I pat your arm instead.