Friday, July 2, 2010

Love song for people without a vocabulary of tenderness #1

You're beautiful, and you're ignoring me
sleeping, or pretending to sleep or trying to sleep on a bus from Boston to Hartford.
I am all awake with wanting, looking across you out the window

I am aware of what this is doing to me,
how ugly it makes me. I am turning into coral: brittle, irregular.
forward, backward I leave a trail of brine, my eyes two darting fish
a leering moray mouth, ridged skull. There is a risk I'll stay this way.

I curl up,
close my eyes, think suddenly that I'm sleeping with you,
feel my hair turn that much more to kelp.

At the smallest level things don't really change.
Depending on where one is and how one looks
things just are a certain way.

We get off the bus. Neither of us says anything
Sometimes looking is a prayer I don't have the faith for
we might both be catfish now, or sharks, or us.
I wake up in the shower in my parents' house,
fingernails digging in two-day stubble as if I'm looking for something.
All my scars itch.

I have come to clear out my things; they're moving again
I haven't seen this stuff in years; it is someone else's.

The stinging cells of jellyfish are some of the fastest things there are;
scientists think they can reach 5.4 million gs
like tiny crossbows. Yesterday I surprised myself like that,
the acceleration into wanting.

This morning I am whole and oddly hollow
skin covering an echo-y hum.
On the bus ride home I read,
and spend some time as a river.

On my banks, all the fireflies light up
at once to see my city rise
over the road, strange and intimate.

At the smallest level things don't go away;
I have been seawater my whole life and may be so forever.

the jellyfish in my chest flashes redly
tentacles dragging half-digested fish
still here, still here.

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