The baby slips out in the water.
All is water.
What else moves?
I slip in the water. I slip.
I remember a small thing.
The girl who keeps talking
says to me, here, no, there, no,
here, now now now now now.
My thoughts gather like remnants
of the tribe, mid-flood, in the precipitous cave.
Now the baby is saying something
to the other baby in the
language that means only me only me only.
It’s piecemeal. It’s like no one else
can touch it because it barely exists.
What shape is this? Does it match the star hole?
No? What about the circle?
What kind of baby knows the difference?
All I need is the space between our points.
You be there while I am here.
They all chime, it’s not enough
you know you want to hold us while we
try to get away.
When the water rises
we are nothing but hands, hands.
I always thought I was a man
until I got here
now I’m ridiculous
being a woman doesn’t even begin
to describe how not myself I am
children, a wailing wall
between me & everything
bear it there will be no end
to the crying
while I think of dumb words
I am not so cooperative
say something nice like Hey Mary
what on earth
did we take you for
a place to make someone else
don’t even say
your son’s name anymore
except to make men cry sorry,
it’s just a body ferry
days on end
doesn’t mean anything—
I am being meticulous
in aloofness, that’s all
each era starts
the tree hoists its own limbs up
in the air the thing is pleasant enough
to look at the ideas
if we could lift like guests into
other people’s atmospheres
& live alone like old artists’
forgotten girlfriends, we could pretend
autobio: the purple rose gets plummy now
ever just early or late
try to fill with
almost something meaningful
cat watching the cardinal
gratification sandwiched in
partiality and youth
as if I even knew about it
plural autobio: we have this
like disease comes & goes around
our knowledge of it,
as in with or without you
the specificity I use to tell this story
the story’s still alone inside,
little egg with stuff & vocab
“hand” in “hand” making off with me.
the stranger touched my face
and took me aback.
at once, everything is impossible
as “lifetime” “beauty” “clusterfuck”