To return, still and embrace
the collapse and scrape, the break,
burn and stall­—offer the body

as alms, as bait, steaming meal
centering the plate—the shape
described in negative space—

the shining arrow of ether
skewers breast to air, mouth
in a shaft of sunlight—skin knits

into the harness of leather, collar
fitted to youth, bark rings
over the rusting nail and lace rots

in a drawer's dark casket, close
as silent prayer—the damage
inflicted to stay

damage salves and balms—
generations of finches shot
out of air, acres of trees burst

into light and fume, banks of down-
soft ash along the forest floor
skinned like a scalp

must—abandon alone proves
never enough—speak
through that tether, the tongue,

a lash with two ends, a door
dividing bed from the night
not known and the dark

of the brain—wildernesses
beyond name—to be left
untouched or taken away—