*The world comes into the poem.
The poem comes into the world.
Reciprocity — it all comes down
As with lovers:
When it’s right you can’t say
[[Who]] is kissing [[whom]].
– Gregory Orr*
Who are you?
[[Dream.->Do you love me?]]
It is the beginning of the world.
[[Do you love me?]]
My earliest memory is of lying in a wide room with a cathedral ceiling.
It was my parents' room. There was a bed with a headboard made of dark wood, a bedside table, and a long dresser with a mirror - humbly furnished, no frills. Except for the curtains - the curtains were a dusty pink color and translucent, with ruffles all around its edge. When the sun shone through them, the room filled with soft, [[tinted light]].
Everything was soft. I could feel the strength of my mother's arms through the buffer of blankets against my body. There was a [[flimsy baby's straw hat]] and an instant film camera on top of the dresser; someone else familiar moved outside my vision, talking in a voice that soothed. [[My grandmother]].
The closest I can get, now, is to close my eyes in the late afternoon. The light underneath my eyelids is warm like milk, pink as blushing skin.
with the waves rising and falling
an exhalation – a rush of tiny bubbles upwards, frenzied,
swirling in the current
i am warm
for a moment and then the cool blue
my smooth underside
the belly of the world
i could feel all possible forms
reaching outward and turning forever like –
stars? no, bubbles, in the half-dark shining,
a long [[voice]] calls from far away
a kind of -
subtle secret soft
- collective ecstacy?
and somewhere in the distance there is a [[light]]
I rub my eyes.
The fire is still going strong, but pales against the light of the moon. It's so bright it nearly blots out the stars. Tonight, the black sea presses into the shore as though ravenous.
It can be the ravenous, I the ravaged. It's as though I've pushed past the borders of starvation, and now can't bring myself even to hunger. The bones feel thin in my arms.
I must look ridiculous, I think. Even if a ship came by and saw the wreck, they would not see me - only a gawky, hollow-eyed bird on the sand beside a fire. No matter. It's been so long, and besides, maybe no one will find the island for years, surrounded as it is all around by miles of sea.
After the fire dies, when I shed my skin to become even more formless, a skeletal pile, I invite the birds. Take my bones far away; make homes in my ribcage.
All the rest belongs to the sea. Over the past few days, I'd started to respect the waves and their perpetual hunger. I hope, flame extinguished, they won't be shy any longer, and the tide swells and pulls me down to the mollusks.
As resigned as I am, I do still want to live. So let me shape-shift.
Hey, there's the superpower of humanity! We all become shape-shifters at the end.
Let my formlessness re-form into the squid, the jellyfish, the seagrass -
let me have immortality in the spiral shell of a mollusk.
Even now, the quality of that light is the only way I can define nostalgia.
What was it for? I don't think I ever wore it, but we had it around for years - long after I had outgrown it once and for all.
It was less yellow than grey. There was a red heart pinned to one side. Why do I remember only the hat and the camera? Why not anything else along the dresser? I know there were vague shapes, other forms, but they are lost to me.
At least in my memory, it is. I remember she and my mother speaking to one another in low voices, soft laughter.
But the more time passes, the less sure I am. Perhaps it was simply someone else; perhaps she was never there. If I had seen her, if those frequencies of light had found my eyes, I might be more sure, just like I can be sure of the hat and the camera.
Or maybe not even that much. Like pulling a loose thread, other things begin to unravel if I'm wrong. What was actually there? The cathedral ceiling, the bed? Was I held by my mother, in that room, or did I simply collage the memories fragmented through time?
How much have I imagined?
the voice only exists because of me.
that is -
nothing calls out into nothingness;
nothing reaches if there is
nothing to hold.
but somewhere the voice sees bubbles that are not theirs
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