after Kaveh Akbar
Tap two bones together long enough, and—genesis. Eruption.
Licking tombstones clean scarcely offers lucidity, solace,
or other such means of fragility in convulsing bellies.
A large part of breathing entails raising hell
against loosely uttered words of malignant humor—
"I have missed you"; "perhaps, forever"; "your child is you".
But of course, everything slips between the corsets of being,
disfigured feelings wryly clubbed into inconspicuous mausoleums;
here, you have loved this particular curve of my hand;
here, I wake to the sinking feeling of being older than Anne,
frank or otherwise. Despite such magnanimity of warring courtesans,
I can only fall asleep to the boorish tunes of whores guarding
vanity's doors. Somewhere in a hospice, a woman neck deep
in the grave sits in a wheelchair and remembers no broken windows,
no tracing the bald dome of her first child, no bartered moments
of heart pound for disquiet matrimony. Yet, somebody plays Swan Lake,
and how her chest stirs uncontrollably, how in the haze behind her eyes
Tchaikovsky coaxes the ballet out of her, how her arms, sinewy with age,
poise themselves to the watered down trills. This incident bears
no significance in the totality of existing, but the old cry and quiver
just as ornamentally as the young do. And it brings me to this—
why have I lived (if at all)? Why have I drawn blood into bottomless syringes?
Why do I relish the sight of tears, vitriol, rain? All of this is a sin (nay, confession),
but I do not look for compassion (just your vigilance),
or far worse, clemency. My footsteps, earth tresses,
and I, we simply do not exist.
And still, I do. Still, I do.