lord, please gift me that same wonder. / to pause hunger for a larger suspension
the dead bat in the hallway –
wings folded, shriveled on its side, the year we greeted
bats with terror and asians with diseased and spit.
even after a car turned burning meteor
in the FDR tunnel, the smell of rubber on fire
dispersed seven blocks. in trying to contain smoke
the day before the election, everyone i passed turned
futile. as the bat was buried across the island of manhattan
where it flew through a window for warmth,
the heat drying out its small body –
the Q train holds its breath like snow
on the manhattan bridge. a man with white hair
and newsboy cap watches the city stopped through glass,
his sandwich with a big bite in it.
lord, please gift me that same wonder.
to pause hunger for a larger suspension,
what we call hunger i know to be seeking
satiation larger than simple desire.
on the platform at atlantic, even before grief
we anticipate, a man sells chocolate bars
for a dollar. two men and their steelpans
out of sync with each other
and the music play dionne warwick.
what hope, to be singing
while a tunnel is burning –
forgive me. i see in everything
the immigrant habit of clearing out
wonder as we make way.
Sestina for My Younger Self, Who Only Wanted to Move to America
winter night spiders our stained sheets,
lost and searching for light
in shadows across bare feet.
i arrive at the end of flight –
america sulfurous and dry.
love, the orchids in your backyard dry,
you come up the narrow stairs, a flight
into our sheets.
in the lidded doorway, you bare your feet,
standing in a square of light.
my mother’s eyes fill with watery light.
winter with all its dry.
america cracks with the backs of my feet,
every passing siren a mother’s cry.
our arms country lines, bisecting sheets
like paths of transatlantic
in my red-eye flight,
mountains apricot from cracks of light.
our knees in rabbit-print sheets.
home and here both marrow me dry.
this is what you want – why cry?
you throb against me, feet to feet.
snow around my feet
means i am alive. there will be another flight.
in brooklyn, another abbreviated cry,
another body shattering like light.
america, keep me dry –
let me keep warming crumpled sheets.
suppose we never leave these sheets –
feet to feet,
suppose i never get on my homebound flight –
just lay here, watching dancing light –
i might get to keep hearing my mother cry