Given to me by my sister as a gift, the tiny Indian doll stands with no arms. Given to me so I can raise my hands and stop the world from coming closer. Something has been taken from here-- a day when reaching out was death. Something lost with my own hands. The doll stands three inches tall, its brown head wrapped in a red scarf. No arms, as if I could look at a body and not welcome it back. As if I knew what happened to my grip on those things. The clay doll stands on my bookshe1f. It stares out the window. It does not have any arms. I don't know why it was carved that way, don't know what it means, why the invisible palms hold everything. When I touch it with a fingertip, it leans against a book. It does not fall. When I set it back on its bare feet, I carefully use both hands.
Beginning with Two Lines from Rexroth
I see the unwritten books, the unrecorded experiments, the unpainted pictures, the interrupted lives, a staircase leading to a guarantee, the glowing frame of wisdom protecting me from harm after I escape the questions of a lifetime. I see the turning of the pages in a book I have not read, its story proclaiming the reader is going to escape without knowing how the equation injured the moment—sacred leaves rotting in a bottle of rubbing oil, their black designs sinking farther than my reach.
I witness what is made for someone else, its motion calling me to wait for the regions of love where we come back, able to dismiss the picture of ourselves where we can't smile because no one is able to capture time that has not happened and never will. There is no agony and waste, only the steps into the frontier where it is easy to hide.
Even a shoulder bone cracks in the morning light, a man rising at the end of a century where everyone gives him pictures, including one of a translucent scene where the running youth carries the host, his confusion between danger and desire making the boy stop at the bank of the river, turn, and go home. When he gets to the house, he doesn't cry out. When it goes dark and the arguments begin, it is his portrait that is handed to me first because I already arrived at the junction between the lamp and the staircase to the mocking stars.