World harbors much I'd like to fit inside that the parameters preclude me from. I'm the desire to have had a say. I'm the desire to be left alone amid brochures for Europe's best hotels behind a locked door on Utopia Parkway, where Brother, crippled, rides his chariot, where Mother's all dressed up and going nowhere. Together, sotto voce, we count hours, fuss over newsprint, water down the wine. When I was shorter, we were all divine. When I was shorter, I was infinite and felt less fear of being understood. I am the fear of being understood. I am the modest Joe who hems and haws at blond cashiers ensconced in ticket booths. Lacking the words to offer her the flowers I'd spent a fortnight locating the words to offer her, I threw the flowers at her. As penance, I entrenched you, Doll, in wood. Through your shaved bark and twigs, you stared at me. Being a woman was out of the question. Being a question caused women to wonder. How unrestrained you must feel, Wind and Water. You are the obligation, Box, to harbor each disarray and ghost. I am the author, the authored by. I am a plaything of. Who makes who Spectacle. Who gives whom Order. My father was a man who lived and died. He would commute from Nyack to New York. The woolen business had its ups and downs. How unrestrained you've become, Cage and Coffin. There is an order to each spectacle. You are the obligation, Wind, to sunder this relic of. Am reliquary for the off-white light of January morning. Have seen you, Fairies, in your apricot and chestnut negligees invade the mirror, tiptoe on marbles, vanish from the scene. Am reliquary for what World has seen. I'm the ballet of wingspan, the cracked mirror. Canary's coffin. Sunshine breaking through.
I could play the accordion
so I was selected for the amateur propaganda team.
It was very cold. I had to stop up the hole in my shoe.
I used the lid of a tin can.
As far as I can tell, there's nothing
trustworthy about my experience of reality.
I stand on one leg. I stand on the other leg.
I rotate my arms clockwise
and call this exercise. In the home movie
I recognize my coat. Taking my turn
with the mechanical bull at Uncle Ron’s
Wild West Saloon I hold on for as long as a minute.
So little happens on a given day,
which is why I play the accordion
until I am riddled with someone’s applause,
which is why I drive to Arthur County to see
the hay bale church and the world’s smallest courthouse.
If I was a blue jay or some kind of robin
I would fly figure-eights over the cottonwoods.
Despite the wind, I would not curse the wind.
The future is a rumor like the past.
The new anxiety supplants the old anxiety.
The continent I stand my ground on drifts,
which is why I have asked you to marry me.
I am solid gold, I say, and I am capable
of loving you until the final asteroid
hides Omaha under an ocean of ash,
but you’re unavailable.
They were on their way to the ocean
when they made their minds up to stay here.
The grass was so tall they picked wildflowers
without stepping down from their horses.
We are all so lucky. It is terrifying.
It is a blue sky day for all the freezingness.
I blink into the chasm of sunlight endlessly.
I forget my life, but then I remember my life.