In the roan hour between then & then again, the now, in the Babel Of a sorrel ship gone horizontal to a prow of night, the breach of owls Abducted by broad light, but blind, in the crime, the titanesque of rare Assault—we who have come back—petitioning, from the chair Electric with bad news, from the stunning, from the narrows Of an evening gall, from the mooring of an hour slanted on the follow Bow, she rose from a bed of Ireland like a flyted trout, a shiny Marvel on the sailor's deck, an apologia—divining— As once, as at a salted empire port, he washed Her fleeted body & they lied, the best of them, the cream & crush Of this, the madrigal & sacrifice of that, the best of them, The slowest velvet suffocation of their kind, did not come Whittled back by autumn, at an hour between thorn & chaff, Not come riddled with oblivion, the crossing & a shepherd's staff, The moment between Have & Shall Not Want, we who have salt Always know, that we who have—the best of us—did not come back.
Did tear along.
Did carry the sour heave
of memory. Did fold my body
upon the pillow’s curve,
did teach myself to pray.
Did pray. Did sleep. Did choir
an echo to swell through time.
Did pocket watch, did compass.
Did whisper a girl from the silence
of ghost. Did travel on the folded map
to the roaring inside. Did see myself
smaller, at least, stranger,
where the hinge of losing had not yet
become loss. Did vein, did hollow
in light, did hold my own chapped hand.
Did hair, did makeup, did press
the pigment on my broken lip.
Did stutter. Did slur. Did shush
my open mouth, the empty glove.
Did grace, did dare, did learn the way
forgiveness is the heaviest thing to bare.
Did grieve. Did grief. Did check the weather,
choose the sweater, did patch the jeans
worn out along the seam. Did purchase,
did pressure, did put the safety on the scissors.
Did shuttle myself away, did haunt, did swallow
a tongue of sweat formed on the belly
of a day-old glass. Did ice, did block,
did measure the doing. Did carry.
Did return. Did slumber, did speak.
Did wash blood from the bitten nail,
the thumb that bruised. Did wash
the dirt-stained face, the dirt-stained
sheets. Did take the pills. Did not
take the pills. Cut the knots
from my own matted hair.