A crush of oily plant and treated white, wrapt and reached by root, sky-touched and still, a bud in leaf: make of me a body. Oil me, hand and foot, bind me tight and scented green: this is my dressing, done. Ay lived and spoke to what ay was. No matter if you answer. On hand and foot an oil and scent. Across my forehead fingers sweep a clay. Remember what ay was and am. Kind horse, lie down beside.
FOOTNOTES: The Us is a formally fractured poetic sequence spoken by a chronically nomadic people. A member of the group (Ay) dramatizes the coming to self-consciousness of an individual in the group.—JH
Source: Poetry (December 2008).