My Ear Bled and He Created the World

Please protect me from myself. The howl is cornered as a wounded owl

outside my door and bargaining to be let in. The head of the owl

dreams of sky on fire for his wings, You see,

I hoped in a calling. In a name

to be called. Mine.

 

But of hours men build carved trees into prisons and I walk splintered into myself

each day, a stranger, to say my name to strangers. They lip themselves

into me. Once, I had a man break his neck over a stone-hedge to let

the field grow out, in circles around his temples. I walked

the new land a child, looking for myself in the burrs.

I found a woman caught in the wire, singing.

What are you singing. She said,

Holy is the Mountain.

 

Please protect me. I think

of the broken neck of the man,

fields sprouting from his eyes. He called me

over to him and beat me until my ear bled. And from there,

he said he knew his love was real. And from there he went

howling and cleaning my skin with lips, staking claim for what was his.

 

The woman in the barbs tries continually to get out. She visits me in dreams and sings Holy is the Mountain until the owl descends. Protect me.

 

She shoots him. He loves it.

He calls her mistress and the sky bed.

 

The woman in the barbs swings her wrists until they bleed.

This is how I know she loves me.

 

The man with fields sprouting from his eyes and neck on the stone-hedge wakes me

at night. He begs me to fuck him. Since all he feels is pain,

the sky leans in, then out, keeping his cock hard. I hate to tell you this,

he says, but I will never stop.

 

From the field I search for a child, walking eternity. She won’t stop singing

Holy is the Mountain.

I want to sleep until I’m dead, she says,

so I let her. I build carved trees into prisons and shadows

with backs of horses. I skinned one just last week, I said, in a dream.

Thank you, says the girl, then sleeps.

 

The man overtaken by fields was once a boy.

I know this because one day in his kitchen he showed me a painting.

I thought of you, he said, before you were born. Just then,

the owl flew by the window, warned me to keep my panties on.

 

From here, it all gets confusing, I say to the woman in the chair.

She isnt’ the woman in the barbs, but she listens.

No one else but the owl follows me all my days.

 

And holy is the mountain, says the woman in the chair, Is that your name?

 

Myself I wanted to be called, but haven’t.

My ear bled and he created a world. I asked for it. I asked for a calling.

I don’t understand why the tender-bird left, I said.

 

The woman in the chair leans back.

 

You’re safe, she said.

 

So I cried.

 

Where do you feel it? She asked.

 

My throat.

 

As though his hands never left and I’m twenty again and tired of life.

 

Who was the tender-bird?

 

The First Man, I said.

 

You loved? She said.

 

Yes, commonly known as the First Man.

But I’m Eve and the man with the field coming out of his eyes asks me to put him down every night. Protect me. The girl doesn’t know this.

 

What girl?

 

She, the perpetual child in prisons made from carved trees and shadows,

the backs of horses.

 

Perhaps you equate sex with violence.

 

The tender-bird. He is the owl, wounded, howling.

 

I don’t understand.

 

Neither do I.

 

But I am a woman, scared.

 

Holy is the Mountain.

 

Protect me from myself.

 

The eyes my fields my stones my hands

the unwavering search for the child.

I want to sleep until I die.

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