my talking was to deliver me from fear,
my gestures, from despair of being
forsaken, the messages like those of a dog
barking and wagging its tail, something
God by design makes us choose at random.
ill-prepared for the merchants of fate
I bought shadows at the market to throw off
my pursuers, but they followed my scent
to the river, flashlights ice-skating
on the surface, frogs in the reeds their music.
once across I watched my clothes float
downstream, hugging the rocks, uncoupling,
disappearing as if devoured by the river’s
whirling maw. I scrubbed my skin
with mud and stones to have my memory
bleed away with the smell, as my eyes played
hide-and-seek with glow-worms and tracers,
carrying me home to my bed to retrieve
a brick heated in the oven and wrapped
in my mother’s old shawl to warm up my feet.
it was the gleaming steel sun in the morning
with two holes staring at my eyes when I
forced them open, and a voice of the shadow
that made the light disperse off its edges,
Shall I kill him or make him swim back,
and another, its fist sprinkling my forehead
with sand as if it passed from the bulb
of an hourglass, Let’s hear his story first.
so I talked and wagged my tail through the woods
and the valleys, across the fields and the ocean.