The mind’s black kettle hisses its wild
exigencies at every turn: The hour before the coffee
and the hour after.
Penscratch of the gone morning, woman
a pitched hysteria watching the mad-ant scramble,
her small wants devouring.
Her binge and skin-thrall.
Her old selves being shuffled off into labyrinths,
this birdless sky a longing.
Her moth-mouth rabble unfacing
touch-and-go months under winter, torn letters
each fickle moon pecked through with doubt.
And one spoiled onion. Pale Cyclops
on her kitchen counter
now sprouting green missives,
some act of contrition; neighbor-god’s vacuum
a loud rule thrown down.
Her mother now on the line saying too much.
This island is not a martyr. You tinker too much
with each gaunt memory, your youth
and its unweeding. Not everything blooms here
a private history — consider this immutable. Consider
our galloping sun, its life.
Your starved homesickness. The paper wasp kingdom
you set fire to, watched for days until it burnt a city in you.
Until a family your hands could not save
became the hurricane. How love is still unrooting you.
And how to grow a new body — to let each word be the wild rain
swallowed pure like an antidote.
Her mother at the airport saying don’t come back.
Love your landlocked city. Money. Buy a coat.
And even exile can be glamorous.
Some nights she calls across the deaf ocean to no one
in particular. No answer. Her heart’s double-vault
a muted hydra.
This hour a purge
of its own unselfing.
She must make a home of it.