Skin remembers how long the years grow when skin is not touched, a gray tunnel of singleness, feather lost from the tail of a bird, swirling onto a step, swept away by someone who never saw it was a feather. Skin ate, walked, slept by itself, knew how to raise a see-you-later hand. But skin felt it was never seen, never known as a land on the map, nose like a city, hip like a city, gleaming dome of the mosque and the hundred corridors of cinnamon and rope. Skin had hope, that's what skin does. Heals over the scarred place, makes a road. Love means you breathe in two countries. And skin remembers--silk, spiny grass, deep in the pocket that is skin's secret own. Even now, when skin is not alone, it remembers being alone and thanks something larger that there are travelers, that people go places larger than themselves.
All the Names We Will Not Know
(for Adriana Corral)
Before dawn, trembling in air down to the old river,
circulating gently as a new season
delicate still in its softness, rustling raiment
of hopes never stitched tightly enough to any hour.
I was almost, maybe, just about, going to do that.
A girl’s thick dark hair, brushed over one shoulder
so regularly no one could imagine it not being there.
Hair as a monument. Hovering - pitched.
Beloved sister, maker of plans, main branch,
we needed you desperately, where have you gone?
Here is the sentence called No no no no no.
Come back, everything grants you your freedom,
here in the mire of too much thinking,
we drown, we drown, split by your echo.