As if you could dig it up like a carrot
or shake it loose from the branches.
As if you could thwack it in half
like a coconut, could drink the milk
sloshing inside and be revived, as if you could command it
onto your tongue, as if it had a taste,
as if it could be poured or caught or captured or held
or worried loose like a tooth, a knot, a nail, as if it were an eye
fixed on a snake bisecting the path.
As if it could be summoned and hooded,
cut and partitioned: this: meat. This: poison. Many times
there was only the bright smell of gin
on my mouth and the butterscotch glow
of stupid I must have been haloed in, the sudden
seizure of my bitter orange and juniper tongue. Desire,
yes, also, urgency. But I could be
caught, I could be lightning
directed, flash inanimate. Out beyond
these walls, a ferocious wind
makes love to the trees in a yard,
pine needles scattering all over
the green, green ground. I want to say
I never assented to any role I was not fully certain I could sell,
but I, too, am susceptible to the suspicion I should be
dumb and grateful, like a cow or a potted plant.
Everyday I build the little boat,
my body boat, hold for the unique one,
the formless soul, the blue fire
that coaxes my being into being.
Yes, there was music in the woods, and
I was in love with the trees, and a beautiful man
grew my heartbeat in his hands, and there
was my mother’s regret that I slept with.
To live there is pointless. I’m building the boat,
the same way I’d build a new love—
looking ahead at the terrain. And the water
is rising, and the generous ones are moving on.
O New Day, I get to build the boat!
I tell myself to live again.
Somehow I made it out of being 15
and wanting to jump off the roof
of my attic room. Somehow I survived
my loneliness and throwing up in a jail cell.
O New Day, I’ve broken my own heart. The boat
is still here, is fortified in my brokeness.
I’ve picked up the hammer everyday
and forgiven myself. There is a new
language I’m learning by speaking it.
I’m a blind cartographer, I know the way
fearing the distance. O New Day,
there isn’t a part of you I don’t love
to fear. I’m holding hands with
the poet speaking of light, saying I made it up
I made it up.