Breathe in shapes, twisting forms:
breathe out dim blankets, swirled sheets.
Breathe in the anxiety of troubled days;
breathe out new jobs, the list of
things to do and to learn.
Here, for a moment, we are at the fulcrum,
at the tilting of the world: the old joy rustles
and patters on ahead, and we follow
with a deliberate step. We
are not so easily fooled now.
The shoulders swing free
like folded wings,
the spine sways this way and that
in the wind: gently curved, tough
as an old tree root. We will live forever.
The water trickles in the creek
carrying iron, copper, zinc;
blues and rusty reds. Drink it
And you will turn into a kingfisher,
quick and bright, vanishing as seen.
Listen. You've been told a pack of lies
by people who want you to be afraid.
Turn them carefully, finally, one by one,
and let them dissolve in the mineral
flesh. Ten thousand lives are open to you.
Death will come richly bedizened,
full of joy, and bow before you.
He will take you to be queen of a circus
new to town. You will hook
the trapeze bar with a casual elbow,
Your breasts not quite shrugging free
of their admiring sequins, and then you will fly
through an air thick with the scent of
animals who trust you, who adore you,
to platforms made strong with the sweat
of generations of nimble feet.
Your strength will astonish no one in
that gasping crowd more than yourself.
Death will applaud so hard his mask will split,
and you will glimpse his beautiful face beneath
the skull, the face of a boy, almost.
Up in the shadows of the Top – they
tell this to nobody – is where the mountain
gorillas have found their final refuge.
You vanish from the lights
And they pull you into their warm,
musky, grateful embrace: high, high
up, there is unknown foliage, there is
fruit to eat, and babies
who ride their mothers with wondering eyes.