after Encounters at the End of the World by Werner Herzog With booms & chirrs seals speak under the ice of an ocean frozen over. Stationary ocean. Electrified song. Color: snow day with autumn leaves inside it, glassene sheers of cantaloupe & kiwi on lavender, gunmetal, jetwing— When you rode the elephant through the puncture, the first syllable of my name parted the deep with your beautiful hand. Sparrow shuddered in her dustbath, swath of pleasure raked up & out. This is where I sat in the avalanche. In winter, where I was born, you pulled a cord of silk in your beautiful hand. I heard nothing under the ice. Bye bye now, our people would say. Bye bye later. First, song, a detonation— then white everywhere.
How many times the blood rush of truck, bus & subway
has passed below my window.
How often this body, meant to bend & breed—squat like
my mother’s, her mother’s & hers—has
paced instead, inside its head, gazing skyward for a noun or phrase to
shatter the glass of our locked cars & save us,
that might break over all:
raccoon washing its hands like a surgeon in the birdbath,
girl at the drive-through deciding only 42 percent of humanity
sucks, the rest of them hungry or high,
their wheels aglow like daisies, their wounds debrided, unbridled . . .
Jesus, Mary & Joseph, I have blamed you for everything—
the decades broken like your rosaries, our few family belongings
missing, glued or taped . . .
Back home, the air
is scented with Japanese lilac & catalpa’s orchid blooms—
all of us colonized, colonizing:
your body made to carry mine
in flame, to this,
of which I am but remnant, a speck
fished from a tear duct with your tongue.
Whose easy laugh is that I’m hearing now?
Whose loneliness, unbroken, goes rolling in the blood?