The word that takes an entire line
and still needs room
to carry all my belongings.
I am pressed by muscled hours,
thumbprints on my eyelids
at thirty-two degrees.
I am always almost there,
climbing up over this disorder
to the burnt, very white sky,
white as a wall,
once a blank page, now a screen.
i think we were brave
to stand where we did for so long
and love each other as much
as we loved our borders.
we loved to the final minute,
after the weeping,
when we were laughing
and knowing that we’d always
know each other.
you are a beautiful part of my life.
thank you for the good years.
we are lucky and ongoing.
a kiss at the door and leaving
The first line of a poem
that I can finally move away from.
I have a mouth swollen from nature metaphors.
I am a weak writer, always talking about the ice
melting from the bottom up, about running water,
always talking about feeling cold.
I am bruising under the thumbs of academics and artists.
I will never be great in those fields. I help with their
anthologies. I sing their songs. But I have glassy eyes.
My voice is gone. I carry my tension in my throat,
gasping. I forget, hands on face.
I have lost interest in the body. I soothe myself to sleep
by the grind of teeth. I’m living at Monk’s House.
My music is gone. Where is the river?
It’s melting. I wrote it down.
The mind has an end.
The days grow taller and look down on me.
The snow melts and runs away, down the drain,
except where it pools on lawns and
on dammed sidewalks.
Shadier parts still carrying ice
crack under my eyes,
violent with panic, trying to find myself,
a sinking drop of ocean
landlocked, so far from home.
The writing scares me when it doesn’t come,
But then when it does, and I am honest,
I shake and tear the words with my teeth
And swallow them back down in gulps.
All I want to do is beg to be left alone.
I beg to be forgotten and anonymous.
I have cursed myself enough.
This is all a great waking, a very long sunrise, welcome after the rain that woke the birds in the night and made them sing. This is leaves unfurling and leaves tucked in leaves. A glacier groaning, a sharp moving stone.
I lay chest down
And beat my heart into the blankets
Until everything shakes
With life and love
And other things the heart makes.
The mattress pulses
Waiting for an echo that doesn’t come
And this is how it is without you.
I text you every morning and say I love you,
but I’m sometimes sleepy and would always rather have you beside me.
But you aren’t, and so, with my eyes half-open, I text,
"I love you."
Sometimes I get it wrong
in my half-sleep stupor
and I type instead,
"I live you."
Odd, awkward grammar,
but at the heart of it, still true.
When I was young I froze my ears
and they went hard as stone
and burned night and day
and now they do not.
They are soft again but
become red at the tips
and scream when the air
and the water freeze.
It does so often here
and I hear what no one says.