Maya Catherine Popa




In Buddhism, difficult people are thought to be a gift.          
This explains why I'm not a Buddhist.
I love the glib, slick farce of hardheartedness,
though I've held my human head
in my human hands so it would not
succumb to language. It was earth that taught me
names for all the planets, how to look
at an angle for the hummingbird,
dark satellite of sugar in the blossom's mouth.
I could picture that vast absence of us,
moons spinning coolly in unscripted pasts.
But when I try to imagine our president,
understanding imagination is the basis
of all faith, I suffocate on hatred's loneliness.
I can't stand the unity of my own hands,
how no part leads the writing of a word.
But this, too, is no faith that can be held, scalds
without tributary purpose. Like something
held to the light by its edges, I see the long years
ahead of me, full of voices of friends'
children's children. I want a kind of betterness.
Want it desperately. Is that faith? While the days,
impatient, fresh beasts, appeal to me—
You are here now. You must believe in something.




wolf-voiced, not to scale with any measurable
thing, by a pail, patient in aqueous silence
as you reeled what belonged to darkness.

You drew the fish on a steel line, dangled its
enchanting suffocation. Obeyed nothing,
that conceit of fables. In midnight's knowing,

details witch to weight. How, in your hand,
charcoal became a little of the flame
that made it. I read in what's omitted omen.

Meanwhile, years pass, real as hooks. I wake
to fear I've misplaced them, confounded,
knee-deep in water. It was a dream

that had you backing off the dock
of memory towards someplace forgettable,
turning your reflection back into your name.