Inmate of Happiness

Because you were born with your knees
tied together under you
you are bound to need your hands
and resent my knees. Because

you were born with and without knees
your face remains close to the ground
to analyze all the methods
the medics use to unhook them:

they splint your legs against planks,
numb each knee with a balm
that makes you feel you are flying
through stone. Now you crouch

ready to doubt, blinking because
it is your body’s to blink.
You smile, invincibly obscured.
From any closer I couldn’t take you whole

so you imagine your hands luring
my knees into both sides of your mouth
and open your smile
into a needy room — molded

behind your teeth, a person of pity
held down in thick liquid shame.
Because you were born to be happy
you would skin and uncap

the knee of a good giant
to make yourself a helmet
that could guard you from under
the brain, but you cannot get up off those knees.