Because I could Neither Forget Nor Forgive
I gave my abuser gratitude & gift soaps
carved by the boundaries of every state
I traveled through, carrying her hands. I gave
my abuser duck feathers & goose bumps.
I called my abuser nightsweet, nightsweet. I told
my abuser I loved her angora & lavender
& angles & entryways & the uninvited chamber
of her music’d throat. I hated her throat & her
hands on my throat felt the words as I never
said them. In every state I traveled, carrying
her hands. I gave my abuser feather & fin.
I built a brass box & I lived with her inside.
I said that I loved her so she would lesson.
I said she had a mirror’s permission to learn.
I said that I wished she would die so I could
walk again. I slid myself under her
fingernails & I gave her god tidings & I ghosted
my face under her daughter’s in every
photograph. I wanted her to live with me
until I became the ghost she had to live
with. I forgave my abuser & I could not
forgive myself for forgiving her. In every
state I traveled, carrying feather & fortress,
a brass box inside which I never lived.
I Found Myself on the Edge
of an October & the ochre filaments of leaf & sun
& tree seemed a beauty beyond bone or breathing
in which kindness is a kind of home. & if I remember
carefully I can easel the sun he made of himself, I can eclipse,
I can make April an apology for its intermittent disasters.
There grew a cluster of questions, a clump of bone jeweling
the base of my back. I knew dirt & joy, I fashioned
my comportment after blood & I was contained inside
of the jungle, its voltas of rain. I turned & returned & was
not satisfied though a shift of elevation revealed the ship-
wreck kissing shore. What rich words the sky wrote for me,
what sordid pentimentos revealed as my own longing for nothing
but longing itself. Desire was a gown I painted myself into, stripped
my portrait free from, eiderdown, ostrich spine, the fine fuzz
surviving on the peel of a skinned peach. In this bare becoming
I became the beautiful, the outline of a body in bones forbidden,
broken to marrow a self in which my God can believe.