creation myth

your body was borrowed: peat moss. radish tops.
the soundless ejecta of stars. dinosaurs
sloughing lonely off their bones. flowers and also
flours. blood unbled and also borrowed. microflora
who cannot say their names, though once neither could you.

some day you will return it, this library book of you.
bound in muslin, like the first time.

and some days it will pang and pang
and only you will answer, in your body’s own latin,
in the tongue of your tongue. in missouri, at a bus stop
at 3am when the wind finds the oboe in your chest and
plays you, as all of us are sometimes played.

it is unkind but not untrue, to be so of-the-world and so
apart from it. only the arc of your breath or the breadth
of your reach dividing the soul from soil. so close
you could touch it, when touching doesn’t do.

and no, I do not know how to fill my cup
when I don’t have one. where to point to the pain

on the insufficient chart, wong-baker faces
uncannying the well-worn mirror. the anatomical cost

of loneliness, and loneliness, and loneliness.

even in the creation myth where I am immaculate
-ly coiffed and past reproach, where I am mother
like a lake is a mother, or a hare is a mother,

or a snake is. still, I am self-serving. I am all want
and whimper, lonelying you from clay. I knew
the story before I placed you in it. I saw you suffer
and I said suffer. to have a body is to feel it. to have
a brain is to splinter in a thousand thoughtful ways.

I saw you before I saw you, whale-eyed and reeling,
that first shock of air beating the world into you,
fear fracturing your new-won joints, limbs
reaching blindly for want of a mouth.

and I told myself, what a glory it is. to be known
like this. to be held for a moment at all.


and we are no more than bones

First Prayer

Into my home, invited Anahita, divinity of waters / of giving me my daughters