The cemetery’s full up, but the ghosts sleep late.
I’ll wake one more time in the dappled room & still feel capable.
I’ll miss that. That sea is dazed by itself. A moth bashes the pane
like the sea, then quicker—hummingbird heart—then slower,
the head of my friend after she heard. I’m not supposed to think about
that death. I’ve been given this gift of being dazed. For the Board, our girlhood
wars were cobblestoned, suburban at worst, fringed with guttering candles.
I want to walk onto the ice floe. Or I want an intern with a clipboard to approach
and tell me the use of the medal handed to the old man & the metal
in the forearm of the saint & the glass in the stomach of the child.
Remember when in the meadow we all laughed so hard we bent in half?
How even our bones looked white and straight? Folks want so much to walk
to the top of the hill, to be held in thrall at the wave’s peak, to look out their big windows
at their kingdom, to be seen. Bach’s mother beat him terribly. My replacement
will hear acorns pinging faster. As they listen, their death will also grow
in a different murky bit. What’s the use in nostalgia for the reprieve as it occurs?
In bungled truth-to-power I can’t take back? Grief’s always got arrows quivered,
quivering. I’ll have mile markers to unstitch summer, then that flint-eyed
winter reckoning will mushroom up in a garret garbled with moth-eaten slights wretched
or wrenching. The march of centuries. Green-eyed brown soldiers. Contrails from planes
that almost struck trailed into my hips. He lowered his fist slowly. Time a thread, a threat
coursing through me. Dawn a wash of ripples. Yarn pooled from my pubis
I nipped in the bud. I wake up ashamed. Ships burn faster across our newly renovated
Middle Passage. I don’t ask for much. I know I’ll ruin what I’m given by not following
instructions. I sat up quick, gasping. I didn’t stick around to return appropriate gesticulations
but I was letting you hold me long as I could. I can’t hold still. Mid-pic I’m zooming out
to our ancestors’ shackles. I can’t be held. Before rain starts, poplar leaves shake: faces
burned from my reel. I rotate my contrition toward the dominant populace. Her ankles the blue
of moldy fruit. I swipe my card. In small increments I try again. Rain nods apolitically,
throttles harder. I snipped the strip of that evening out of me like a seam. My stitches have always
been too big. The Counsel holds that my mistake has always just been made.