When I walked through the open door, I was a bee buzzing in a field of daisies. I was an eel swimming through cool shade, rocks and crags my sweet safety. I was meeting myself again, anew, as if for the first time ever. My voice sounded like Sunday hymns touching fingertips with the high mountain desert. A disco ball lit up the sky.
I use my bare hands to move last year’s dry leaves aside,
this one small movement bringing light, space, air.
Underneath, the tiniest sliver of green.
I take care not to touch because
the past few weeks carried
important lessons in its arms
and dropped them on the doorstep.
Life is fragile.
We are clumsy.
Birdwatching is a skill.
I am hopeful as my knuckles sink deep
in sunflower seed.
Filling birdfeeders is practical and gives me
something to do with my hands.
My hands, which of late have begun to flutter,
two lost birds seeking a way home.
The wind jostles them from all sides,
pushing east then south. East again.
They want to fly north.
The difference between safety and slip is not much.
We know this, but still we chase
the solace of certainty, the comfort of the known.
We are being offered life in the midst of death
as across the planet, people dig deeper,
hunker down and squat,
ready to spring into violence at a moment’s notice.
Feed the birds. They are winging
toward safety. Guide them home.
If he comes to you,
arms laden with wildflowers
and baby’s breath pulsing on stalks like beating hearts,
if he holds out his fingers dripping with silver and diamonds,
pulls you close
then nods with his chin toward the Chapel of Love
on the Vegas strip,
recall the first time you saw him.
Before he knew that you saw him.
Consider first his hands and understand
that this is the way he will enter
Do they rest loose and patient at his sides,
fat rabbits sleeping on hillsides of green grass?
Or do they crouch, fisted and tight,
rocks wrapped in stones hoping to be hurled again and again?
Because this is also the way that he will enter your life,
with deep shuddering spasms which will leave you empty,
and as dry as a pile of bones in the noonday sun.
You will be reduced to chalk and dust,
dried winged things with husks
and shells the color of kindergarten glue.
You know the way your mouth feels the morning after
too much tequila?
Pretending to sleep
as a naked stranger gathers his socks into a ball
and tiptoes shoeless across your crooked floor?
Creaking your way through each day like a common thief,
the rub and friction of it wearing you so thin in those
precious places that should be thick,
luscious with longing and love.
This is not for you and nowhere at all that you want to be.
Your body is not an apology.
Your name is not shame,
and love is nothing at all like a ball in your
mouth and a knotted rope around your wrists.
I wonder if you know what juicy feels like.
The full roundness of it,
the heavy holding and lush syrup of it.
The sticky licking your fingers,
the swirl and suck of it.
You want to slip and slosh your way through this life,
dripping with the force of it.
Throw yourself into a fucking river if that’s what it takes
to get wet.
Slide in and conjure yourself
a man who runs his tongue slowly around your lips,
whispering the world through you.
Find yourself a man who takes your arm and holds you up.
who plunges his hands inside of your chest
and holds your beating heart as if
the entire universe depended upon it.
Immerse yourself and find out exactly how long you can hold your breath.
Today, there is not a vessel large enough to hold you.
Today, you will turn your back on anything that isn’t slushy
with absolute possibility and light.
Toss those flowers in the trash.
Shake his trembling hand and tell him goodbye
because today you are beautiful and today
you will not settle for less than juicy.