[Some days I'm just an articulate animal]

Some days I'm just an articulate animal

born with no instruction but to make

my bed every day and to live, though

the latter was never stated. That must be


the animal part—the unthinking

onward prodding. But the bed-making—

a morbid ritual (isn't it?): I take the living

out of the room, fluff the duvet,


and erase any trace of my existence,

reminding myself at each day's beginning

that I will end. My body's not that exciting,

although it did surprise me once


with a bleb on my lung. It ruptured

and leaked to fill all the empty spaces

between my organs with air. If you pressed

on my chest you could feel air bubbling


against tissue. The pulmonologist poked

me in the armpit and prescribed

more oxygen. I used to let men get

away with too much—their unthinking


inward prodding—but I've learned not

to listen to them. I do have faith in some,

though, like Noah, who moves through

the world with a watermelon in a wheelbarrow


and this makes his heart full. Or Eric,

who sleeps till 3 and sautées chicken hearts

for breakfast when he's that special kind

of hungover and forgets his existential dread.


Things other than men give me hope too,

or at least give me a break: The tufts of blonde hair

between the pads of my dog's paws, like sweet grass,

or raw silk, for example. The scent of neroli.


Shallots, for their flavor and shape.

Orgasms, obviously—a being evolving

into a feeling, the brain broken down

to body. These days, I can't get past


thoughts like “heartbreak” being a misnomer—

it's not the heart breaking, it's the heart

holding on. It's the heart saying

not yet. Hearthold, maybe, heartknot.


It's a choice—to let our locked horns go limp,

to wallow in the dark glue of misery

like a pig stuck in mud, some girl

either too tired or too sad


to ever make her bed. What a pig,

what a dumb old dog. It's a choice.

The heart forgets it loves surprises,

The heart forgets it can surprise itself.