The Source


Published: March 4, 2010


I think about her poems:

jewels of the eye,

pocket of the womb,

and I stuff my own with lucky things.

I remember about the pelvic nerves,

about the wolves and birds,

or else the dogs and dinosaurs.

I feel my own bones growing.

I feel the familiar filament of baby’s hair

and the filigree of toenails.

I place my finger on a tiny spine,

my palms enclosing an entire body,

my hands cupped and curved as the ribcage

to clutch the delivered parcel of life.

And my flesh remembers only flesh then,

like a shoulder or a kneecap,

or both the chin and whisker,

that soft, animal fur of a new man’s thighs.

I hold the knowledge inside my cells,

I hold the death of mother, death of father,

the catastrophic superstition,

and my mind does not know where to go

except to woolly sweaters, to the pills of fiber

that curl and catch, to my nipples pressing

on someone else’s chest. And something happens then,

like striking an instrument against a desk.

I’m flooded by the forest, fields, a surge of sea,

all the stars a bowl of flowers,

the prince and puppet of mammalia,

the forgotten ode, a quiver, a can’t,

the feelings of an older man’s tongue

in my mouth as a girl, the shake

and the shouldn’t, the grasping limbs and letters,

and then I press those names behind my teeth

like against a Spanish railing,

my own tongue spreading like a plaza in Paris

or reaching upward in New York, in my bed,

the hot candle of my mouth burning

and the broad blisters of my lips

filling with the sounds of lovers, my own,

my mind and sex alight

with all the cinders overstuffed, the embers gleaming,

the ways in which the body blazes

and every forlorn lie of kissing.

I think of all the eggs inside me,

a hundred thousand hopeful wicks

and reach up toward the melt in there

to wet the yoke for threading–

they wait in through the eye of flesh,

impatient for the spark, a pinch,

those matches seeking tinder.