As a girl I made my calves into little drinking elephants,
I would stare at the wonder of their pumping muscles,
the sup of their leg-trunks. I resuscitated a bunny once
from my cat’s electric teeth. I was on neighborhood watch
to save animals, as many as I could. My damage was easy.
My plainspoken voice is a watercolor. I’m afraid of it
as I’m afraid of what the world will do to color. I don’t
think I’ve done much. A table leans against itself
to be a table. I hold nothing but this air. I give it off.
I want a literature that is not made from literature, says Bhanu.
Last night my legs ached a low-tone. I imagined the body
giving itself up for another system. Dandelions tickling
out of my knee. The meniscus a household of worms.
It is okay to bear. My apartment hums in a Rilke sense.
A pain blooms. I am told that it’s okay to forego details
of what happened. I am told it doesn’t matter now.
I want to write sentences for days. I want days to not
be a sentence. We put men in boxes and sail them away.
Justice gave me an amber necklace. I tried to swallow
as many as I could.
There is no life after death. Why
should there be. What on
earth would have us believe this.
Heaven is not the American
highway, blackened chicken alfredo
from Applebee’s nor the
clown sundae from Friendly’s. Our
life, this is the afterdeath,
when we blink open, peeled and
ready to ache. Years ago
my aunt banged on the steering, she
insisted there had to be a
God, a heaven. We were on our
way to a wedding. I would
have to sit at the same table as the
man who saw no heaven
in me. Today I am thinking about
Mozart, of all people, who
died at 35 mysteriously, perhaps of
strep. What a strange cloth
it is to live. But that we came from
death and return to it, made
different by form, shaped again back
into anti–, anti–. On my run,
I think of Jack Gilbert, who said we
must insist while there is still
time, but insist toward what. Why we
must fill the void with light—
isn’t that our human insistence? But
we drift into a distance of
distance until proximity fails, our
name lifts away with any
future concerns, the past a flattened
coin that cannot spin. I am
matter spun from death’s wool—and
I bewilder the itch, I who am
I am just so happy to go.