Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2011 v10n1


I hold a glass.
It flies from my hand.
I catch it. Fumble.
It spills over.
            My hands drop
            the glass again.

I can explain flying things
as illness that ravaged wrists.
When I grip to shake hands,
now, I do not grip.
When someone grasps hard,
the bones in my hand grind.

I never tell them though. I lift
the wounded hand with the glass
which is half full
                       to sip:
                       water drops—
leap up to—
                       sprinkle my face.

What should I think,
splashed from below?
My arm has withered over time,
it’s true. I hadn’t noticed until
walking quickly through the house
I run my hand five times into chairs and walls,

as if it isn’t mine but someone else’s
my muscles don’t control. Emaciate
wrist inflamed and bowed. No longer
bends. The whole arm must lift
and my whole body turn.
I don’t care.

Not care, but mind.
                       How should I feel
                       otherwise? I check
the ceiling’s smooth surface. No
cracks, no slow drip
from above. I dry my face.

What wakes me up at 3 am’s
                       invisible but sharp:
                       Pain, you get
around! Clutch me closer
in your grip than any lover,
freeze me life and limb.

To tell the Night the truth
                       is small relief.
                       Sorrow’s not.
Chance baptized me,
and Pain anoints its own
unwilling company.

When morning sun breaks
                       through snow clouds,
                       I see that from
the trees—which guard
my days—a few shriveled
leaves traverse the window.  end