sink under flesh
I know that if I could see your eyes, deep-set
and in full color, I would start
crying. deliquesce into an ocean
of salty defeat. I know that if I could
see your eyes, I couldn't help but crawl
back inside the carapace of heat
where I know my life to be safe, unruffled,
calm. this is why before we finally creep
into the soft home of my duvet,
I run over the checklist in my head:
turn off all lights, draw the curtains closed,
don't light candles. don't ever light candles.
and it is when we finally deadbolt the skin
of our legs together, when our lips are in
concert with one another, that I check
again to be certain that I see only
the indecipherable silhouettes of our bodies.
I would cringe at the sudden sight of fingernails,
a strand of hair, a modest crease of flesh.
it could only mean that to make out your eyes
would be too easy.
but this time I am safe from the span
of your gaze. the room is covered by
the thick thatch of a winter night.
this time when I come, I lurch
my body forward like the lip
of a sailboat reaching to drift into waters
that are vast and rough. it knows
that if it could see those waves,
it might never leave the dock.
I was born here.
rushed quickly past the M15 up 1st avenue
to 28th street, into the incision of a scorching august heat.
I was ready for this city from the beginning.
ripped through my mother's belly. the deliberate
c-section opening in her stomach
left a vertical scar.
she carries me tight inside this risen flesh.
I was born here. this city of street pickles,
shopping cart bruises tattooing my legs,
a brilliant breeze tossing itself around a lamppost.
this city of hungry telephone booths eating flat silver,
8am rush hour where we pack ourselves inside traincars,
sardines in a rapid tin can, smelly and tired.
the euphonious symphony of car horns giving voice
to their drivers across wide strips of street.
I was born into this homeless, this prostitute, this garden
into this village, this ass-grab, this rape.
born into translucent blue, this tired mother.
I was born into this day.
into this death. a deceiving sky
into this night. everyone was quiet.
the streets were empty.
the garden was wilting / into this plea
traffic lights weeping / into this fire
the train was a worm digging itself
into the collapsed tunnel of its home.
but this wednesday the sky will be beautiful.
I will remember to cry
remember the knife / this
my impossible home.