Amiel’s Leg, by Thomas Lux


We were in a room that was once an attic,

the tops of the trees filled the windows, a breeze

crossed the table where we sat

and Amiel, about age four, came to visit

with her father, my friend,

and it was spring, I think, and I remember

being happy--her mother was there too,

and my wife, and a few other friends.

It was spring, late spring, because the trees

were full but still that slightly lighter

green; the windows were open,

some of them, and I’ll say it

out loud: I was happy, sober, at the time childless

myself, and it was one

of those moments: just like that, Amiel

climbed on my lap and put her head back against my


I put one hand on her knees

and my other hand on top of that hand.

That was all, that was it.

Amiel’s leg was cool, faintly rubbery.

We were there--I wish I knew the exact

date, time--and that

was all, that was it.

From “Split Horizon” by Thomas Lux. (Houghton Mifflin: $18.95; 81 pp.) 1994 Reprinted by permission.