I leave my starfish in the Pacific,
leave my cuckoo in Tibet,
leave my sloth in the Amazon
and I grow old like this, cooking and lecturing.
On the tundra, I bind my fingers to a conifer.
In the Arctic, I bury my pupils inside a snow-bank.
And in the Pacific depths, I leave my heart to melt.
Like this, I eat, sleep, drink, and even laugh.
Then, grief blows in from Sumeru.
All year long, tears fall from the bottom of an ice-sheet that won’t melt.
And then a fever shows up from the Sahara,
a place covered in cacti that can’t close their mouths;
needles stick out from their tongues.
Inside their mouths it is as hot as lava.
So, starfish, my wild starfish, stop coming back for me.
They say you came from a grain of rice.
They say you can grow as tall as a house, a mountain top.
Don’t come back—
even if a gutter forms each night under the bed
from all my tears.
The gutter is not your home.
If you come again, I’ll stick a star in my hair and the entire
night of the world will explode inside me.
A new day comes, clear like the sky after a typhoon.
When I slip on my dead, gutter-rat shoes and stand here in the street,
why are my arms, my legs, my limbs so far away?
Even when my body is this small . . .
even with my butterflies blowing in from each direction?
I must have gotten wrecked inside this body after being
chased by all the wind inside this world.
My arms and legs fly in each direction. My head gets cloudy.
I crawl, step by step over the tundra
because I always lack oxygen.
My disease is being on time,
but I must go out to be on time.
Someone watches me a long time.
My feet are no longer in sight.
Both feet start to walk away, then run
like wolves into the mountain.