Four little poems I wrote after reading half of Maggie Nelson’s “Bluets” one sunless morning.
My stomach, balled like a fist
Against a closed door.
There is something in me, rotten.
There is something in me, holy.
I speak to you without proper language,
I speak to you with the whites of my
Eyes, pink and raw as a wound
Against the field of snow-heavy clouds
Spring is still too soft of a wind to unstick
The cold from where it sleeps—
Will the river yet melt and twist away
From its steely banks? Will you hair grow
Long enough to pull into braids?
Will you let my hands do the work?
Muted sunlight, honey-like over the boney
Mountains; a fog that never lifts.
What is guaranteed? Nothing.
The ground is wet and soft, an
Open mouth choking on violets, or
The place I ran my fingers through,
Hoping to feel how you loved me
From the inside.
I plunge a fist in first, wanting
To know how deep the softness goes,
And if the heart of the world is really so
Does it suffer?
If it is anything like my heart,
I fed your memory to the sea:
Pushed it far out with painted
Fingernails, my knees like pillars in
The shifting sand, shoulders
Sure as stone—I was a monument,
Caked with slime and seaweed but
Looking back, perhaps it will seem
A half-full gesture; one day I will be
Old and I’ll know that I am dying and
I’ll wish then to hold all of the crying,
Fighting, multiplying versions of myself
Inside my arms like a fat bouquet, but now
The world is overrun with futures so countless
I kill most out of mercy, and whatever
Is lost looks just like another ripple;
My eyes can’t hold it as unique among the
Other currents that comprise the ocean’s
Endless, shivering indifference, and so
The décor of my life floats dumbly away;
I don’t need it—even you and you and you
May turn blue and float forever.
I wrote you letters, left them to rot
Beneath the leaves, called my
Mother, said I’m not sick just sleeping,
Said I dreamt of my pain as water
In a river, flowing downward to
The open mouth of the sea,
Where it becomes one ripple
In a desert of blue light, one
Ripple lost under a tarp of blue sky.