in my old age I have become
In my old age I have become
something like the battalions who wore ironwork clasps round their
hearts and steel on their brows.
In my old age, old whale, old island turtle
etchings seem wise investments
not to hang
but to get to know the wrist
a solitary lovemaking
One thing that passes steadily by me
is my appetite
for others' appetites
the strong coddling the stronger
a survival that trees know only as shade
the hours of
the absent world. Would they stretch
for life? down?
of the future
I have a life
language has not become
it has stayed
since the genitive clause made mammals
How the world began
on a fingertip already pointed?
has been misspoken
diction has tricked us
to look at ourselves
welcome me, now
Welcome me, now,
I never left,
you never mourned,
and then undressed.
Your new clothes, linen,
strange and cold,
ask no secrets
Take them off again. Remember
me. You expected my
fingers, all over. The way my eyes rested,
But we are comfortable, our flesh
cringing. Summer sealed my pores,
but my feet
the bottom of a river.
Like something irreverent
burying me. No great exhaustion
If you touch me, I have an edge,
the same as yours. Everywhere I go, the world
has also been.
I have a house, see the wide walls. The plot
with a garden and a path. Every object
is a symbol. Every breath,
there is not much time left
There is not much time left.
Somebody's hands are shaking,
all she sees around her are prophets
Her son is dead. Her cousin is dead. Her army tastes
like the sweet blood of her son's papercut.
Her daughter's eyes, too wide.
There is not enough time left.
Death is ugly,
my skin is
hardly a barrier.
I imagine myself tremble
at a phone call
I pass a crushed bird on my way to the car.
Some days mud covers it.
Others, the rain has washed the mud away.
It resembles dust,
only the pale pink claw still reptilian.
No one picks it up.
No one moves it from the mud and the lot.
How many limbs equal this bird,
where the dust is closer to skin color
than crow color?
Where we cannot suck away the blood,
we cannot kiss away the blood.
Our garbage cans are full.
Death is ugly.
Some of us can cry.
Others have to pick up the bodies,
wrap them, put them in a place
where the dust matches
Somebody makes reference to the sound
of a four year old girl's
That is the best thing,
they say, about her,
about fucking her.
She does not know that sound.
If you ask
in twenty years
whether she has ever been raped, why
she cannot have children,
why she swivels a little
when she walks,
she will say,
No. I don't know.
I don't know.
These are not our fathers,
these are not our brothers
who bled us into earth,
tore us into skin
from mothers' wombs
like cancerous nubs.
Why, every time,
we are surprised at the fall
we hear that noise,
a small part of us breaks,
we weave a little
After the rape scene on stage,
we do not howl together.
In the bathroom at intermission
we do not hold each other.
I cannot look in your eye.
I let myself live
in this world.
It is just us
in line, in the stalls,
washing our hands.
One clasps her husband's wrists.
One puts her arms over her child's torso
to remind her this story is now
These are not our fathers,
these are not our brothers.
This, we can say.
whispered: Who dares to believe he will be saved twice?
Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces
When blades of grass push water into fiber with scratchy tongue,
when the yellow sun obeys the ozone and spares retina, saved
while dry leaves succumb to their more seasonal mortality, saved
throughout the long period, saved
enough to notice process
first the leaf reddens, then gathers inward, dry, then lets go, before,
somewhere unseen, one molecule lets go another
so that the name becomes a verb
and the past becomes the past saved
verbs like bridges tell me my small mind
has been alive so long in my saved body.
Kinds of grief:
who dares occasion
who dares imagine
she will be able to say,
The first time I was saved
I was so scared
when the phone rang or did I call?
the second time I since then I take long walks in daylight; this
signifies thanks. Since then, I am walking
not called upon
I was saved,
I painted earthen walls around my heart; I let in air unfiltered to fill
my heart's chamber with gravity, dirt,
because I knew, I remembered, to be saved is to flee forever
or was I caught?
The rings of the phone weaving a basket
Imagine if Moses
had been conscious
the first time he was found?
would he have dared himself to hear
on a mountain?