My only glory was in beauty,
how I reached from her slender neck
toward the sky, ravaged by wind
the way a rough lover handles
you: dizzying, powerful,
unpredictable, but with joy,
joy in touching you,
joy in seeing you disheveled. The cool
night air ran its lips on my silk skin
to make me dance. I danced,
long and lean, with perfect
extension and seamless flow.
I had no bones. Not one bit of me
was firm or harsh. I was air
itself. I was becoming
pure performance. I could
see the tire's eye watching me.
The car at the sidewalk with its
inflexible frame—it hated
my freedom, my lift, my flight.
The car, gravity's great love,
envied me. The wind, for a moment,
set me down with ballet grace.
I lit upon the cold steel spokes
striking out from the wheel
like the arms of great Kali. She
tangled me, and when the car
drove off the wheel pulled me
tighter. I wound around its neck
the only way a scarf knows how,
pulling my whole silk body
and everything that anchored me
into the mouth of never.
Complaint of Achilles' Heel
Everyone’s so quick to blame my
tenderness. My wound opening like a mouth
to kiss an arrow’s steel beak.
A beautiful man, now, plants his face
in Trojan sand while I tell
the secrets of his body—
make the ground red with truth.
Red with the death of Achilles, felled
by an arrow’s bite when nothing—
nothing—could puncture his Kevlar skin.
Everyone skips ahead to the moral: don’t
be a heel. For just one day I felt
sun where the chafing bonds of sandal
should have been. Without me, he’d be
just more fodder for the cannon.
I made him a hero, Troy’s poster
boy. Everyone forgets I was part of him,
I needed him—that even as he died,
I tasted each pulse—
that I could not hold back its rush of red
birds or the season to which they flew.