Ode to What I Do Not Know

Two animals, doe-eyed, slick across the road
into the femur of the night. Their feet learn
the reptile skin of earth, dark roots, and the tethering of dream.
I wake up away from myself.
The fast animals of my eyes crouch through thickets
into a sky-colored beach where I suddenly look up and see
that my tongue is a country of birds.
This water twists like a snake to taste itself. Water says, you know,
I have never tasted of myself. I do not know myself.
On a morning radio show about lines and colors, a man phoned in. There was a
    child howling
in the house of his mouth.
He said, Please listen to me. Please. I’m prejudiced. His voice cracked. I need help.
What spilled out of the stereo lay on my floor. Breathing.
It had furs. Dark. Lord. The fizz of it.
Some nights I wake up panting, knowing
that I’m a stranger—with accent, homeless—
in the childhood country of my body.
Some nights I clench my fist, my teeth. I try hard to not turn on my bed. I fear what
    lives in me might spill out and darken the floor.
A knife. Not silence. Slice through us.
What is loss, if not your body refusing to give you back to yourself.


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