Lost softness softly makes a trap for us. —Gwendolyn Brooks Michael’s skin splinters below the water’s line, his navel and all murky and lost like a city from my old life, or that scarf I’d loved, the softness with which we sink into what disappears, and the country of his groin and knees so softly already blackened. His sister snores below my hands. Her mouth makes tadpoles. Her breath wet from chemotherapy, I’ve massaged her a- sleep. Her shoulders swell their small tides. The air burns leaves. I want to want to trap her sighs, dividing the stillness, in glass, to a Mason jar: breath like smoke against a window—: for this man halved by water. But we sit in sun and grit, watch the waves which lose us.
Morning, and light seams through Juárez, its homes like pearls, El Paso rippling in the dark. Today I understand the fact of my separate body, how it tides to its own center, my skin crumbling from thirst and touch. The sun hangs like a bulb in corridor: one city opening to another. When did my heart become a boat, this desert the moving chart of my palm? And when did pain invert the sky to glaucous sea, each home on each hill rocking? I would give my lips to a soldier if only he would take them as sextant, our mouths an arc, my tongue the telescoping sight between. Below such light, the measure of boys swimming cobbles, their stomachs dripping wild stamen. See how they are clutching to their guns like lovers, as if the metal could bear them. Morning, and still in umbra, my dog and I walk, her tongue a swinging rudder.