[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.