SUM OVER HISTORIES
All the nursing homes hang south,
universes without beginning. My face
inside her mind breaks in two:
one feeds a dark iris, one expelled
so her skin gets brighter.
You are ready for all this difference
to be familiar. I will hold you
like a yellow cone sister,
that boy's damaged ear. Turn
immediately into please and must,
to not be forgiven that would have to be okay.
(if all of this falls then why do you
Move your palm over my back to remind me
I'm made of water.
A wheel of loss sanded flat.
Translate the horses into your hair
and do not tie them around a tree.
Pink is waiting
Masts and metal make small songs.
No longer an event. The grief
was too purple, the petals
got lost in a parlor without ears.
I want the mud to hear me.
I want to catapult time
like those lights across the bay, ants crawl
the ridge of this page.
Pink is waiting for color to crack into light.
(The possibility of
(thought would come here
It's too early for that to be an owl.
We have had everything weather-wise.
Eventually I can get back to longer walks.
A dead woman sees the failure of surfaces, hooks light through eclipses.
A got lonely crawling to B
through every possible tunnel
so it tried to breathe under water
until it is our silver field.
So this is Saint C?
What remains of Catherine.
What remains of a fountain
is a missing plank on a bridge.
A bicycle leans against a lilac.
A whisper from what remains of never
opens a photosynthesis
and a sudden There will never be
a face the size of this.
I call out my name from the top
of the stairwell, a limp boy
on the tile four flights below.
Call out my name, hover
close to the color you hope to be.
I pin a balloon in my ear
and let the only noise be leak,
harming the sap song,
tapped and dried and
swelled and blue.
These words look under
light before paper. A dead
leaf shiver in the window
but crave for moths.
Not the mouth remembers
a night of tiny vibrating
guts instead of language.
Torso says tomorrow
and tomorrow is hammering
repair into a boat
for time that left us
un-begun. Think of fossils,
sad its own picture—some volcanic
liquid always cracks.
I have always been too permeable.
There is a mirror on the air
behind anatomy. Go, name it
a mistake out of me, fill
the plates I fade into with eggs
from your large hand. It spread
self into cellophane
I can't eclipse ( ) for you
The road hurt people,
you heard it,
we cross it,
we lay on our stomachs
REALITY IS THE FLAW
What lives is the ghost of matter
You begin by tying your shoes
What leaves in the forest
are afters, father's
ears flung precipitation
leaf to vine
In the classroom my father
pretended to hear failed
his medical examination so I could
sing and not a soldier under
water in the bath pretended
not to hear
Sing now, other daughters
sift never through a war
ended for? Mouth
under paper, moth
or mind over pine
How does a noun
ethically? (Mom) My footfall
is in these woods far away from a telephone
talking open the canal of our impossible
earhood : A boy could
No solid mountain
not a rock will not splinter A glacier
saws the only field you stand on
is to swim into a thaw
(6) Thing and be unpinned
(9) The dissolution not the glue (kin)
(10) The perforation not the screw
(11) Nothing, nothing to be fixed
SUM OVER HISTORIES:
The title refers to the theory by physicist Richard Feynman that a particle does not
have a single history in space/time, but follows every possible path from A to B. Cited in A Brief History of Time, Stephen Hawking (Bantam, 1996).
"My face inside my grandmother's mind breaks..." refers to Hawking's theory that a
particle and its anti-particle do not annihilate each other (as they usually do) in the presence of a black hole—one gets devoured, while the other is expelled back into the universe as radiation.
This poem is for my grandmother, Esther Estabrooks, who died in May of 2002. The fragments that begin "It's too early for that to be an owl..." are from letters that she sent to me. I began composing it at the Fountaine de Saint Catherine on the road to Lyon-le-Forêt in France, and later, while listening to Electric Landlady, an album recorded by Kirsty MacColl before her accidental death in 2000.
I wrote this poem on an Amtrak train between Ann Arbor and Chicago.
REALITY IS THE FLAW:
The pace and words from this poem came to me while walking the woods while visiting a friend in Western Massachusetts. We also went to a conference about pronouns.