How to Be Fertile
This emptiness is not so heavy,
being vessel, waiting to be filled.
There are watering days, and days
that simmer, all days of listening
to train whistles, the buzz of phones
in other hands, the clasp of other
briefcases, descant notes of songs
written before you were born,
when others waited, stroked your cocoon,
where you tumbled around inside
like shoes in a dryer. But that was vessel filled,
a different kind of waiting, a kind of swiveling, ready
and not ready. To wait well is not
to tilt forward, deciphering.
Sink back into the couch and forget
the possible. Become the deserted island,
the plane crash, the woman who believes
the dead. The remaining hours,
fill with pedaling. Hang things on walls.
Soap up the dishes, and on occasion,
remind yourself of the tongue,
and what can effervesce.
I am always in the making now,
my blood splintering.
If only all making were this easy—to start
with the blooming of the body, half buried
in the soil of the conscious, the place where words
cannot hold, a return to the throat of no language,
of only gesture, the sweet tension
of living muscle, of release.
Weeks later, I wake at 5 a.m., peel an orange
in the dark, thinking only of the bright burst
in the mouth, its sun descending me
back to sleep. These are the days I can think only
of the belly. Not what is living there
(though I have heard that heartbeat,
the muffled pulse of a train
speeding over its dark rails),
but how to keep myself upright,
of the throat, a dangerous trestle,
a bridge suspended high over water,
of the tongue’s past, and all it used to savor.