after Iris Cushing

There is no empire in nerve. 
When I come home, I roam the map. 
My cursor lands on Truth or Consequences, 
and I read facts about Titanic till I’m blue. 

When I come home I’ve roamed the map. 
I tell my love what I have done Wyoming. 
The facts stack up titanic and I blue.
I don’t know what I love now, he tells me. 

I’ve done it, told my love Wyoming. 
Bit the corner off a dumpling before cooking. 
I don’t know if I love you, I should say.  
I want to see if there’s a mark left later. 

I bit the corner off this dumb thing. 
What was left behind and then uncovered? 
I want to see the mark that I felt later. 
When I got home my love was thinned obscure. 

Left behind and then uncovered, 
by noon the moon had taken the blue stage. 
My homeland, love, has been obscured, smeared
into surrounding states. Grass was growing greener. 

By two the moon had exited the stage. 
I preen into my screen and blue but I am gone. 
Grass was growing green where I should be,
bared beneath the briefly darkening desert. 

I preen into a blue screen where I’ve gone, 
a darkened noon, Wyoming under shadow,  
briefly spared beneath the blackening desert, 
an earth threaded with crescent meaning. 

At noon Wyoming slides from under shadow. 
I want to pull the fabric back, to see the other cloth. 
The threads I tend with meaning: 
dirt on my head, I should die, I would say. 

I pulled the fabric back and saw the other cloth. 
Beneath us is a net of empire sewn with nerve. 
Dirt in my mouth, I will die. 
I asked you for your weather, then your liver.

Copyright © 2022 by Tracy Fuad. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on March 8, 2022, by the Academy of American Poets.