As if my heart has been pulled
from my body. Bewildered.
My senses brimming with indecision’s
thick black smoke. Whatever choice remains
means someone undeserving of it
must suffer the consequences.
In my briefcase, a letter embossed
with pale blue handwriting. Held to the light,
it’s a screen through which old secrets
make themselves seen, felt.
I hurt, they say. The soft shapes
of faces, the texture of pink erasers, come
warily forth—the way a river’s dazzle reveals
strands of loosestrife, a blue heron’s leg
entwined with half-sunk branches.
Everything we’ve been taught
distills to a pencil’s moist tip
that doesn’t belong to anyone, yet presses
surprisingly deep into a piece of paper’s
flesh, gone white from shock. Is it possible
to get over something just as one climbs over
a rock, an upturned chair? When it most matters,
do options narrow for their own sake?
As if the world could shrink
to the breathing space before me.
Remembering, in the midst of floating,
to inhale, exhale, walk the hall. To follow
the dapple of leaf-shadows from chair to wall.
© 2007 University of North Carolina Greensboro