POEM FOR MY THIRTY-SEVENTH BIRTHDAY
happening in the face of one fire
is happening in the sedimentary layers
of two wet stones. This is a fact of atmosphere, a totem
of connection. I've known weather patterns
all my life, droughts & hurricane winds, seen the knees
of trees, their trunks like the appendages of brutally
murdered girls in a cop show about serial killers.
The cat's sneezing inside, & I'm alone
for the first time in my whole life. I never asked
the question about what it means to believe
in purity, what oaths I've taken & broken.
I've spent my days in the fashionable wake
of some timed-out romantic poem, luring strangers,
procuring elements for a mish-mash of solar events.
Journalists & women are dying
all over the globe. I'm alone in a house
that's not mine, squatting until its owner returns.
My friend's ex has a new wife who writes
a daily anti-abortion blog, fanatical about keeping
the world's babies alive. Stories of intolerance
& cruelty crowd my mind so that I have to ask
my friend to drive me home. No, I cannot
play board games tonight. Two months
ago, I was left in the mountains of Vermont,
a thorough discarding, to find my own way
on this lonely, fucked up footpath. Where once I saw
jubilation in every creature, now I hear
moaning, feel shadow. I've done the same
leaving to another. I've danced
like my fellow traveler. I've wandered
in the dark wood just like the Italian said,
all those years ago in college when adventure
& chance purred me into being. Today I closed
the door forever on the possibility of revision.
We live in a field of instant replay, & the field
exists in our bodies, a plying insistence
of organs. While I'm alone the man I love
sleeps with another woman, & another. He weeps
at the feet of a new savior & will & will & will
until she becomes too real, until her pain
billows into a cloud too full of beautiful rain.