Recipe to Recover

There was an order. Each day
a cup of water, yellow light
a bowl made dense with cowry
shells, two spoons of whatever
goes into my mouth. I wanted
to resist the contours of
reverence, wanted not to be
a woman of tiny reason, wanted time
to come to me but it had to be done
like this, though troublesome, it
had to be my hand in the river
my body laid down undressed
my being the source of my own
welcome, my own
theory of disbelief. In translation
I was to become an unbecoming—
a stranger to myself
in order to protect
myself, my mirrors on alert.
I had to enter the nursery of
the red dirt, had to defy my
devastated heart, had to take care
of the witch who came before me
to be the witch who came
before me, that innocence of
ignorance gone like a dream.
Simplicity would complicate me
my tender wildness not undone.
It’s not that I am crazy, they tell me
but touched
by the bare lie of perdition. There is
no hell but the one of memory
so what could kill me
now? Now that I wear
The salts of my ladies?
What thing?
Not even me.


Morning Mirror

Having been born into

                           A ruthlessly capable

Body, I have much to say about

                           Nature’s neutral cruelty—

About how beauty was offered

                           To me—about how I took it

Shamelessly, dressing myself up

                           In the spare splendor

Of a one act argument

                           sovereignty only an old haunt.

Then one morning I wake to the lyric

                           Of a song designed just for me

By a proctor I’ll never meet

                           & after a short while of just sitting there,

My mind like a telephone, I think: oh, man

                           All this odious, distilled luck is a myth—

Beauty is a hand reaching back towards the soft part of the skull.