If You are a Survivor
I remember when my heart was full of weeds.
When did we know the watchwords for each?
Watch the swans begin. Masked tragedy,
it ends. He wrote to me white rope.
And I thought of mycorrhiza. I thought
of the sweet track. I thought of a hinge
across veins. I thought, will it ever be possible
to sleep? I thought: the key to the kingdom
has been found. And we find it, find it, find it
nightly, afternoons when the river
is the gray dream of a road.
I am trying to figure out the altar.
I arrange the dead butterfly. I prop the picture
of us against the glass. In our spectacles,
we could be family. In our shared darkness:
sparks. If you have been disbelieved,
what I wish for you is belief. If you have been
shamed, what I wish for you is nakedness.
If you have been made to crawl,
what I wish for you is to want to
drop on bare stalks, pull yourself over scabs.
To desire again anything. If you are a survivor,
what I wish for you is a survivor.
Only in this way. Only in this love.
Only in each other will we be free.
Rescue Me Ohio
Two animals dead by the sides of the road
a fox or maybe coyote swept fur
snout like an old rusted drainpipe
dead looking down dead pile
of dead and on the other side a hawk
or raptor oh they always fall with one
wing up like surrender don’t they
maybe it’s the muscle one last reflex
one rigid hope one wave sticking out
of the snow though there is no snow
this April only heat and its opposite
longing they must have fought met
in the middle one hunger on the yellow
line one horror two mouths one pair
of wings beating heavy two sets
of jaws rimed with teeth two trapped
hearts and one car speeding
a hit so hard the hunters scattered
mouths unclenched bodies
broken and free and I’m always
hearing footsteps at my door at night
they walk up the porch steps they
never walk away they never ring
the bell or pound and I have trouble turning
over I have trouble coming in your arms
because I think you want me
to do you I remember driving farther
and farther past the Christmas
tree farm the fish restaurant that burnt
to the ground the church bus parked
in the jewel box ruins the gas station
with pumps like scarecrows did all this
happen I can’t seem to picture
anything about you except wings
if I could re-wire myself I would
start again a blank heart with no pictures
draw an ear on me only so that I could hear
you whisper what you would do
to me rescue me Ohio from the love
I have felt for most of my life that
hunger that hollow which sends me
blind to the skies blind to the skittering skies—