Paul Kahn


In Katharine's room I like undressing.
In Katharine's room I crawl out of the shroud of my shame.
I watch her watching me and drink
encouragement from her eyes.

In Katharine's room I shiver in my briefs.
I lie on her table, and she covers me with a sheet.
I pulse between relaxation and anticipation.
My blood is like mercury,
charting the temperature of my desire
for Katharine's touch.

In Katharine's room I submit to her hands.
I close my eyes. Like a cat I drowse in the lap of her care.
My body opens to her like an old, locked diary,
the spine cracking and the dry pages exhaling their secrets.
She reads me with her hands.

In Katharine's room I float, unafraid of gravity.
She is the salt mother.
She will support me.

In Katharine's room I do not hate my body anymore.
In Katharine's room I am happy to have this body
that can feel her friendly heat.
I am happy to let her sculpt me
with her kindness and her hands.
She remakes me into something close to beautiful.

In Katharine's room I do not have to be
only a talking head--all brain and tongue and greedy eyes.
I do not have to talk at all.
There is nothing to say. Words make categories --
harsh lines between the spirit and the flesh,
between the permissible and the forbidden.

Katharine's hands, sliding down my body, blur categories.
In Katharine's room I don't have to decide
what anything means

Kahn has received several awards for his writing, including three prizes from Inglis House, a Firehouse Center for the Arts Best Short Play New Works Award, and an Acme New Works Winter Festival "Charlie" audience choice award. In addition, he has been a Juried Artist at the VSA arts International Festival and a Christopher Reeve Paralysis Foundation Fellow at the Vermont Studio Center, and he holds an Alumni Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Arts and Humanities from his alma mater Boston University School for the Arts.