A Singular Body

Humanity is a body singular.
See how
When pressured to
When ordered to
When prevented from
leaning in, touching, breathing
each other in,
Even the quietest, most distant, and fearful among us
recognizes this unnaturalness, knows the desire and the lack. 

To be separated, caged
in a cage
or in our own homes
rips a hurricane through our chests.

Just this once, we tell ourselves,
No one will know
about that clandestine hug.
No one will know about that nip taken
at the glass-block corner bar.
No one will see how broken
were the rules,
how that is not separate from this:

I watched my neighbor through the window
contained in his snow-edged yard.
He wore a t-shirt and carried a yellow bucket that swung too high
to contain anything.
Why an empty bucket?
Why the t-shirt? Though spring, it is still winter.
And why winter?

Last night through my window
The trees became my eyes.
My eyes became a lace of branches
visible only in winter,
visible only in the naked tree
against a moon sky. The stars stranded themselves
in that lace, a pattern and beauty impossible
for any human to replicate
because our body in the body is not whole,
is not distinct
from your body and mine.

It makes me sick
that some men, sallow and sour, and
the stupid women who suck their
cheeks in to be gorgeous
are part of the body too.

Let them be welcome.

But not as the steady hand or eager heart,
and certainly not the brain.
A toenail, maybe, where malignancy won’t take hold.

And when this long winter sorrow ends,
we will wash our hair
we will trim our nails
we will step outside and kiss the air
and we will embrace our singular humanity.

Three Things

Malice is in higher offices.
Evil, rather.
Perhaps they will use correctly deceitful language.
“I was faithfully performing the job entrusted to me.”
There, I say, you have your god. They might live
and gnash forever.

Concrete Mary is near me. She lost
Her hands
before I pulled her from the trash.
It used to be St Francis stood next to her,
two cripples, it would seem,
She, without body beyond her wrists,
And he in a termite hollowed tunic, chipped bird on his hand.
I brought him inside to have a word
With the oven mice. Now he lives behind the broom.

There is a lady
Who dies weeping
Sores on her legs
She wills them to move
Centimeter by centimeter.
Stubbornness. Dislodgement.
She is only 96.

These are three things I think about.

And a fourth that matters most:
My children, Your children, The children.
We will destroy their futures
Or they will save us.

One Month

IMAG0941

For one month I was asleep,

sometimes with my eyes open, sometimes resting flat on the bed with my eyes closed.

In my dreams

repeated repeated repeated

I took my son to the Emergency room

to breathe.

In my dreams

there was sand and sun but no ocean.

In my dreams

there was ocean and sun but no sand.

In my dreams

I shivered and I wore a hat

so the heat from my body didn’t fly out of the top of my head.

Then I awoke

And the leaves fell from the trees with startling suddenness,

as if from grace.

No drift. No swoop. No gentle sway.

Heavy and unmoored

they landed as everything will

in grace.

 

Along the Path

Along the path, under Chicago Avenue, where the creek is overflowing its banks, I saw a fish, a dinner-for-two sized fish. I’ve never seen a fish in Minnehaha creek. And after, where the left tine of the fork becomes dirt, the trees and bushes and wild flowers lean in close. The air is fat with creek water and sand and pine, black soil and prairie grass. Be careful of all the magic out there.