How did I do it? Saying no was a privilege
I couldn't refuse. I was a slack
suit of clothes, a treadmill's dry tongue
lapping itself up. Empty as a sky,
more than once I fed the dog more dinner
than myself. More than once I threw
the kitchen door open and tasted the air:
unmowably green, green of graze,
of let go. I considered the caloric content
of the air I'd eaten. There's hunger
and then there's hunger, sharpened.
The butter knife then the bread knife.
I emptied out even my voice. I was a gashed
screen. I was the dog slipping through.
On my knees to pray, I chewed my gums
instead, chewed the inside of my mouth
into shreds. The problem is many things
taste good and good together. If I want
to write about an animal, I must choose
between thousands of species—some
eat grass to survive. Some eat to vomit.
Any closer to the light now,
I'd be light, lighter, less than one
foot on the ground at a time.
If the sky, known for raining,
doesn't, does that make me a fool
for expecting rain? As I run
my throat burns
like trying not to blink.
I have eyes all over my face
& it hurts them to watch the wind slap me.
The wind hurts too—
I got in its way, configuring
the air into sorry, sorry.
Ever live somewhere until you become it?
Motion is a place I invented.
When my mother was the known enemy of my mother,
we both ran from her, her regret-bone
jointing to her rage-bone.
Adrenal spike. Strike one.
She was first beautifully in motion, then fatigued
like a split almond.
I died trying
to touch her.
She said, take that wishbone
out of your mouth.
She said, answer me.
She touched my calf
& I shrank down to the calf.
She touched my face & I became her face.
Slant rain touched the slant roof—
I knew this meant my future
but what are others to anyone?
Both my feet touch
the sidewalk, gentler.
The gutter has made itself a small pond—
what a thing to decide for yourself.
I think I'll invent
a new meteorology device:
a single sheet of paper.
At the top I'll write good & bad.
Under each, the same two names.
Gutter, a habitat.
Sky, a wall papered with doors.
on "Before Recovery": "Anorexia" literally means "absence of appetite." I think this is a misnomer. I would define "anorexia" as "appetite for absence."
on "Necessity": I wanted to write about a daily activity, so I wrote about running and ended up with a poem about my mother. I don't really know how to write about my mother, which may be why I keep doing it.