I am an Allen wrench because
I know nothing about wrenches.
At ten I stared at the cars we parked next to, afraid
some phantom movement had scratched up
the paint jobs skittering
in the sun.
She’s sensitive, you’d said.
Behind, you’d conceded, quiet.
All the time God is laying bricks. The Holy
Spirit drools mortar from His upturned mouth, counting
all the eyes on the tensile backs of angels. The eyes who
procreate fire, & know nothing about the hilt
of a sword.
I am the hilt of a sword because
I have never touched the hilt of a sword.
You don’t know what kind of brick God is laying
until you find yourself in a house.
Red brick. Colonial. The Nicholsons leave
their inflatable Santa up into the cool lake of April.
I want to see them mark the moon
with this Santa like planting an American flag; I want
to see this Santa shiver before a huge lectern
at the DNC; I want this Santa
to be my only pallbearer, letting me fall
wordlessly into the earth.
The homeowners conspire. They kiss
the Nicholsons’ mailbox with tongue, talking bad
about their big dogs, whose
sleek black tails could harness energy
the way that a wind turbine does.
When you wave, the homeowner moms don’t wave back &
I am rationing out pity even though you chose this.
I am the blade of a wind turbine because
I sucker punch the air, who fasted for billions of years.
I imagine my father, had you not married him, funneling
anthrax into a plain manila envelope.
He trembles over the numbers, which are sacrosanct.
He says them like how a ten year old begins to swear.
He wanted to live in the woods, near
a decent elementary school.
Good sports teams, he’d said, restless leg.
You were suckered in by gelatin molds & daughters cupping
their purity beringèd hands for grains of capital—famished,
marrying into a rubber band pulled taut.
He wears plain rubber bands on his wrists.
For the crucifixion, he’d remind, a little distant from you.
Your faith is his faith & your arms are bare.
You don’t believe in divorce & you have nothing on your own.
Except for a desk drawer rattling with my teeth, & all I ate,
spoke was that pink
banana slug of connective tissue.
I did not inherit the earth, acmed, acned, in culs de sac.
I never sat.
Still. The church pew flickered
like a flame.
I am rationing out pity even though you chose us,
& I forgive him for whatever room
he is entering behind his eyes.
I am the pediatrician’s exam table because
I am lying on myself all the time, monitoring breath.
I wrap my mouth around the lines of a poem.
I wrap my mouth around the mouth
of anyone who will let me.
Someone at twenty can believe that
the emptiness in this
ritual is bad… tragicomic… means anything.
I am relieved I cry ugly. I need
I need a swift kick in the pants.
I am a house I can’t stand outside of.
When I welcome in the spring, I break the seal of my own eye.
I am the hot air shuddering through the skein of
nylon in the front yard, dancing at medium height
above the calico patch of zoysia grass.
I lie to you all the time. I don’t know why
I want children. I don’t know why
I want a husband. One who works late hours,
whose body I climb over gently,
never touching & waking,
as I lattice my hair with pins
in the yellow light
of the morning.