The paths I walk each day numb and abandon the beauty I could sing.
But your body is the desert in which I wander, idly listening for howls, counting them, placing a rock before my feet just to stare. For hours. Undo this.
I wait for your body to sing, or laugh, or tell me secrets.
The other day, driving from a job interview, the hunger for more intensifying to the point of reaching through my fingers and out my chest, I felt the urge to scream. Speak!
But my brain stills. In a river of everyday, the past-me who used to dig up your beauty in the woman’s hair flowing out her window driving next to me, in the child walking across the street, in even the leaf budding new through a stem, is lost to me now.
Still, you say things quietly.
Stopped at a light, I noticed the clouds between the trees moving.
There it is, I thought, the body of you, spinning somewhere.
The moment I tried to express this beauty, it left.
Do you understand? I woke this morning feeling I was better off if I slept all day.
Kept in my bed, staring at a ceiling, doubting I’d write again.
Whose face is this, whose hands?
The past-me would have leapt, kept herself busy with the influx of numbers, counting steps and seconds between stoplights, thinking they were signs.
Count: 1, to 24.
Added with the 40 steps I made to the car,
And gas cost 41 dollars,
Which, given the breaths I breathe on the treadmill, the calories I burned,
something like 333.
And 3 together in 3 is a complete.
So my body would shiver, holding the rock I saw, called Isaiah, in my purse.
Now, I deaden myself with the blind.
So, I kept you in mind, said I’d write.
But I didn’t.
Now I do.
Unhooking my jeans, untying my hair, I’ll lay down.
I read in a poem the Beloved comes in secret, when you least expect it.
She said, I made love to God this afternoon, and if you run fast enough, you might find her legs still spread in my apartment.
The past-me emerges, sometimes.
Outside, drinking a beer, reading what others said I had within me, I reached to a branch and felt you. My body shivered.
Something told me to keep you close. Hold this moment.
The clouds drifted by again.
There you are.
Your body stirring.
So, unhooking my jeans, untying my hair, I’ll lay down.
Make me into her, I said, pointing to my past-self in the corner.
Or into you, whose desert body I now wander, counting howls.
Howl now. Feel the mathematics of it. Count them now.
Talk, yes. Others talk. In my head.
How they say, write clean. Keep the line short.
Tell me about the desert.
Leave me here in front of this rock.
Last night I dreamed I was naked in a room, walking with you. I asked for words and you gave me a vision of a girl chasing a goat.
I said, no. I need to write poetry.
No you don’t, you said. Travel to New Mexico.
You see, I’ve been so desperate for words, a girl in me thinks if I cut myself again, the blood will release you.
And when I woke, I knew it was all ego.
Wanting to write works to feel alive.
This afternoon, drinking a beer, I reached for a branch and felt you. Shivered.
I know I haven’t written to you in a while. But your body is the desert I wander. Counting howls. Listening for number sequences.
Tell me, how many times have you touched yourself in a way that Spirit could hear you?
Not once this week, I said.
My body looks toward clouds and wants to see you there, spinning.
Forget what others say. Just write to me.
I am. But I didn’t want to get out of bed this morning. Nothing kept telling me to stare at the ceiling and look for number sequences.
How about I give you a sequence?
Now, tell me what it feels like: 392-482-7201-2110
It feels like a river, unkept, dirty.
Listening to Bach.
Telling herself she will be alive in the next few moments, but will lose herself to the dark before she has a chance to write it down.
It feels like the time I asked him,
What do you want?
And he and I both knew it was over.
That God was my first love and he was jealous.
It feels like guilt.
Like if I didn’t smoke cigarettes, I’d write more poetry. That the nicotine is messing with my serotonin receptor sites, and perhaps that’s why the Divine cannot enter.
Feels like how I wished, for centuries, to be your bride, but kept cutting myself on stones. Feels like I want to make my body be air and enter the body of every being.
Or just that river. Unkept. Telling herself she will be alive.
What about this sequence: 291-34-12-235
The way J tells me I’m brilliant and I don’t believe him.
And this: 108-225-1-52
The body of a horse. Saddle against me.
When I was a kid, I’d sit bareback for hours on my mare and watch the sun go down. Hoping a man would connect to me like she did.
Tell me what this says: 106-16-8888888
And do you believe you’re holy?