how she walks across floorboards at night
I don’t know if it’s her warm feet
that made the floor smooth
or if the smooth floor enticed
the soles of those warm feet made them get up
when they should be sleeping
she thinks to boil water
she thinks to pull the curtains but can’t
there’s a leopard under the bed
though no one can see it
it will eat her whole
she doesn’t know who she wants
to miss her.
oh I love I love I press
my cheek on the floor
it is wood I can see in the joints
the crumbs the dirt that get stuck there
vacuum doesn’t get them up
nor does the broom
I could be the wood floor
feel my heart press thump
against the warm wood
and we all think the same thing, don’t we,
feeling vivid this morning
must turn things down a notch
if I will survive
the trees, the sidewalk,
the people in their red
and yellow rainboots.
no but it isn’t the light
and it isn’t the fancy women peering in and saying
c’est lui qui a tout déclenché.
nor is it the ropey arms of the young men or their backs
and it isn’t the varnish or the planes
and not quite – the scraping away
it is the smooth color beneath that scraping:
I am awake.
I wake up again.
Remember the revolting smallness
of your baby teeth, found packed in cotton
in a sequined box when you finally came home?
As a child you discarded nothing.
As a child, you loved every small
sharp part of yourself.
What strange creatures we all knew then, what remedies:
the snake with the rooster’s head
the fish that could turn itself inside out.
A white feather stuck straight up in the mud
to be turned around three times backwards.
You knew what spinning meant back then.
You knew how to pack things carefully.
I thunked a quarter in the wooden box
just to hear the red electric candles
chirp on with their little click-whir –
I lit three for your mother
‘cause she birthed you out cold
and raised you up cold.
I’m predisposed to love everything
which I guess is why you’re still with me,
though it’s getting impolite.
When we stood in the mud
on a clear-cut hill and looked down at the city
you said looks like smog.
Lately I’ve been thinking with my fingertips
instead of my feelings,
and I love the word lung
but it’s so hard to work into conversations.
I’m jaded for real this time,
though I pretend it came sooner than it did.
My mother sent you a 342-character text message:
a goldfish taught her a walking meditation,
she saw a mourning dove,
it changed her life, she’s a new person.
Never mind we’ve lived in the wilderness for a decade now.
Never mind the bears come right up and sit on our lawn chairs.
That mourning dove, well that was something.
low-ceilinged pigeon life
blue sky grey sky white sky life
traffic sings whale-song distance
red rib tiles, stacked
asphalt shingles little cats
widow’s walks no widows
holes in screen
rooftop light sleeks
hair turns orange, red.
could have had flagstones
glass temper tantrums
parking in winter doorbells
instead we have morning.
so make the bed with me in it
shake the sheets
over the ditch of me
my body caves the mattress
loving in imprint:
keep the ducklings in the bathtub
where last year we bled the pigs.