Words of Wisdom Concerning Water
You can never see your reflection in water pooled in the palms
Of your own hands. Try it. It’s impossible. I think
Your hands would have to be as deep as oceans and as wide as canyons
For your face to show up in the water you’ve cupped in your hands.
There are myths about people falling into the water after falling in love
With their own reflections, that the face they saw peering out at them
From the rocky depths of fish-fouled water was so fucking beautiful
That they just had to try to kiss it, but no, I don’t believe it
No one could be that stupid, to not know what their own face looked like
To have not seen their reflection a thousand times before
In dirty run-off ponds, in a wooden bowl filled with still soup,
In a TV cop’s mirrored sunglasses. I just don’t believe it.
If it’s cold enough that the water pooled in your hands begins to freeze solid,
You should go inside. You’ll catch your death from that kind of cold.
If it evaporates from exposure to the wind and the heat
You should get more. You can’t have too much water
On a day like that.
The wings stretch out and pull at your skin
as though they’ve always been there, flap.
Practice moving them again and feet
leave the ground. Feet never really belonged
on the ground, anyway, this is the way it’s supposed to be
now, one toe still dragging circular, twitching trails
through the dirt as if tethering the body to the ground,
still, an anchor, reality.
First the wings and now the skin. You crawl through
the hole in the top of your head, pulling the new wings
after you as you split the tired, old body that has held you
to the ground for so many useless years. There is
so much of the world left to explore, so many places
you could not see from the ground. Let’s start with
the tops of the trees, the hidden hollows of clouds,
the arc in the middle of the rainbow. There’s a reason
birds work so hard to fly. The view from here
is more beautiful than you could ever imagine.
This is how you were always meant to be, I say
over and over as I stroke your cold, pale hand. You
were always meant to be a butterfly, a dragonfly,
an iridescent midge dancing in a beam of sunlight.
What Remains of the Day
I don’t want to be here, curled in ice and snow, dried out
for future generations to find, a horrifying discovery
of some soul-seeking hiker, a tragic story to play out
in museums for wide-eyed children. I don’t want
to be found here, like this, a mouse in a clump
of dried mud and stiff grass, huddled in a concrete
cistern, pressed against a real door in a false wall
waiting out a storm that won’t end in time, eyes closed tight
against a maelstrom of glittering sparks just outside
the ghastly hue of burning buildings and rolling fog
the thunder of gunpowder exploding in showers of metal
and clay, sharp bits of glass and fire.