for Rachel Engelman
She’s says our lives are solid.
I tell her I like that image. Our lives
not floating away. But there is some
pain in being solid. You are often likened
to a stone, more than firm. & you rebut
change. That makes people not invite
me to parties, she says. I think we’re
a party, the two of us sitting outside
a french bakery. The gravel beneath
our feet crackles. I tell her about
someone who doesn’t love me.
& one of us cries. She says admit it,
if you were really stone, you’d drown.
I tell her that I want to be a flower.
One of us refills the wine glasses. One
of us pulls apart the bread. One of us
goes home, sleeps like a heavy flower.
YOUR HANDS ARE A RIVER
To love yourself is
to be a great river.
that I know very little of.
Of pioneers, rushing
to the sight of their
own legs. Of lax jaws
in winter. I purify
what god has put
between my legs,
this curse, on the bank
of a river. I’m dark
& distant as the Nile,
Moses traveling along
in a basket, not knowing
where he’ll end up. Thinking
Are rivers courageous?
To love yourself,
to act swift
& be attentive
of the way the belly
sways in the evenings.
I only just learned of
decent currents. Snapping
turtles waiting for small
things to catch
& hold. To love yourself
in winter, at noon, when
the light is leaving
the small bed I occupy.
I let my dark lips
whisper what pleasure
contains, paradise of
they simply want to.
enemy to progress.
To love yourself
is to love the rough
progression, to hold
the leaping salmon,
to cull a bear
to your side.
I cannot forget,
is a river.
I’m starting a new religion.
We only worship things that are green.
Each morning, we take a pill. Each night, we take
another. We say snappy things, quips, impressions.
Sayings we’ll know will dig. But we always wait
for a smile. That’s a rule. Always wait for a smile.
The danger of failing is required holy text. Here,
the soft dim of sunset is praise. Scripture tells us
to strain the neck forward while the body stands
still. We will worship your hand accidentally touching
my knee. How holy is the soft touch of the one you
love. & the one who loves you. Don’t forget to pray.
Say O small grape. O ballast heart. We believe in you.
& we will feel better. Not worshipping the same bleached
knees. Isn’t life grand? I know- I hate to think that too.
But look at birds. & the roaches. Aren’t they weird? They
worship nothing at all. I think reincarnation is nice.
We were all birds once. Now we can worship each
person’s hands sitting in their pockets. I want today &
tomorrow to not catch me in the same way. To make
me over each morning. Hope is eternal longing. Faith is,
a garbage bag, no matter how overstuffed, won’t break.