Poetry

Aftermath

7 May 2019

My psych tells me: the breath is unique,
It sits between the body and the mind,
It is the mirror of things birthed at the bottom of oceans,
of purple hands that cannot be wiped away, or the rot,
stuck fast to overstretched baby skin.
My breath is the wreckage of a plane, crumpled frame and
far too much silence.
That irritated me at first,
the earth rolling quietly over always, even in a blizzard,
even though the ceiling grew whiter and the air was just
starch.

You are doing fine I hear,
from the man I once called a brother,
from the woman in his mouth,
exhaling the outline of our child’s
name. And I know
you didn’t know—
Had a different idea of—
Would’ve been okay if—
I know. I made movies about it
could never get all the angles right,
all the sounds, could never quite get the story to make any sense.
The version truest of you, I think,
is that you like to believe in karma
so one day you might fold me up humbly,
place me next to the weight of your shoulders and grow a new face.

As for me, I believe in some hour
threaded through all the years where you still kiss
my face of lemon rind and rough hessian,
boulder-wide, fish-scaled,
round as a copper coin. I am moving with the tide now,
pulling at impossible knots:
the slow mouth and the running river,
the rebuilding and the shattering. Sometimes, again
when the air is far too thin
I cast a line back,
the little hooks snagging on the sunrise,
on the bed frame made of clocks
ticking, on the plane gliding through the door.
And here I am telling you
Look. Look how far we’ve come.


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