Nervous System

In the womb we watch our eyelids. This is enough
to blaze a pathway
in the brain, wiring it in anticipation

of light. A warm-up act.
The neurologist says, The world must be dreamed
before it can be seen—

Which has its pithy ring. But of what, these dreams?
The brain doesn’t need much
of the world, it seems—restless visual cortex

rehearsing in the mind’s
dark theater. What does that do—
what does it do

to write this? Field of tall grass, ventured through.
Catalog of damage, pre-fathomed
as practice, to the one who once shielded me

in her body
like a lit match. How she glows
now in the MRI, does not give up

the secret of her brain’s fumble for words,
or her spasms
like a Mexican Jumping Bean. I can’t get that

phrase out of my mind.
I know now what hides, what jumps: larva,
blind inside the bean,

jolts in the heat of the palm, chews
a hole in the bean’s husk
and seals it up with silk. Next, a moth, mouthless,

it’ll just butt its way out,
new into the world of air we must assume
it has foreseen.

But what do I divine about what transformation
comes next, given her mouth,
wordless, and the way the air

seems to reach out
and shake her?