After a Year of Forgetting
Now I will learn how to tie an apron and unclasp
my bra from behind. I will become hard
like a moss-covered rock. I’ll be stiff as a nightgown
dried on the line. When the pond freezes over, I’ll walk
to its center and lie face up until it is May
and I am floating. I’ll become an anchor
pitched skyward. I will steer chiseled ships,
spinning fortune’s splintered wheel. I will worry
over damp stones. I will clean ash
from the Madonna’s cheek using the wet
rag of my tongue. I’ll make myself shrine-like
and porcelain; I will stand still as a broken clock.
I will be sore from lovemaking. I will become so large,
my hair, loosened, will be mistaken for the swallow’s cave.
After June, there is a year of forgetting, after the forgetting,
antlers adorn the parlor walls. Then it snows, and I’ll be coarse
sugar. I’ll be soft as my mother’s teeth. I’ll be sugar
and salt, and feathery snow. I’ll be fine. I will melt.
I will make children from office paper. They’ll be cut
from my stomach wearing blank faces. They’ll be born
bald and silent. They will come out of me, triplicates
holding hands. I will smooth their foreheads
with a cool iron. I will fold the tepid laundry. I will make
my bed. I will sleepwalk along the Mississippi
until it is ocean and I become its muddy saint.
I will baptize myself in silt and December. I will become
a pungent, earthly bulb. I’ll turn to salt. I will remember
the pain of childbirth, remember being born.