The More Easily Broken
A whole world that I might feel
virulent for my place in it.
Every splintered gotten ornament,
each chapel holding of a wrist
with passion. You were fading
when I met you, set in brush
with glow on your garment,
blinking at flash with the other eyes.
I saw you one month
and not again. Kept your gray envelopes
like I kept nothing else,
neatly in cardboard, slammed
shut in cabinets and took and took
again to the rooms I found myself
undone in, frayed with worry, brittle
with hindsight. A whole world.
I sent picture cards. We wrote
what the hell but would not
know each other. I'm stomping my feet.
You thought I was always
that furious, always this merciful.
When I arrived with a bag
in your sometimes city I knew
no one, but you had said to me
water-locked and artifice. That I might feel.
You had talked of affection.
I am now so plainly what covers space
I don't know how I never knew it,
how I was ceaselessly sure
I did not exist. This may not be my life
as imagined, but not unbelievable.
Not practice bells but bells
and holy glass. Me, what you said.
Not any angel lost in smoke, eyes
common with it. With you,
what you said. How you died having never
hurt me. How you never came back.
In Which Our Heroine's Past Is Recounted and Future Foretold
Well hello, you-animated, angry, motionless
but for your mouth, which purses
and opens, simulating what a mouth does. Once again
you have lost yourself ahead of a large glass.
Your torment stays dead, a suicide,
and you have reinvented your hips
and what they do in water, on land, on impact,
at this boulevard bar, the wide lanes of traffic
between you and a bus depot, and so anywhere.
Where am I? you think, But aren't you always
in love? If by strange turn you mean
how you erased him completely then things
took a strange turn, took on a gloom to replace
all the intoxicating fun you hadn't
been having. You think. We tried not wanting
to break any heart, not wanting to be
extraordinary. You think, Matter has hit my body
but the pitching arm is buried.
And yet the great Over of this great experiment
goes on rising from the tides, mutated
and reeking. Look forward, chickadee
In at least three countries you can name, you will be in love.
You will visit five formidable churches, kneeling
down in a modest skirt to fondle inlaid stone;
the droplets sprung from the sinking of a coin
will splash your chest just enough to remind you
you're getting warm. When he goes on
without you, it's a lonely few minutes, but he always
comes right back.
When he is done, you are done, and you, he.
So bottoms up, chickadee, you should really
get out more. Somewhere in this town
your torment's bones rattle and spin, sequence a chain
that's yours if you want it. Once again
you have lost yourself behind a panic of fingers.
Your fingers smell like saltwater. You've had a crush
on saltwater since before your torment
slapped your faultless mouth. You shouldn't get out more,
your mouth is sullied, a threat to itself, hooked
on the inhale, a pain upon breathing.
Somewhere in this town, your torment's bones
await you, gorgeous from a distance, afraid to stop
talking, better than you remember.