You are a spirit,
we are making you a spirit,
in the place where you sit, we are making you a spirit

Your voices whisper under the covers,
they learn to keep house in the same revelation, 
to save each other if it burns. 
Your doll spoke in a dream, 
you opened your arms, 
and went to where you had lost it five years ago, 
you smeared grass into each other’s faces. 

Reason gives itself away on the loose boards
of the third stair, 
you tell me to be careful, 
your voices lift you out of the present tense, 
shatter it like crystal, 
they let you go on your radical errands, 
you listen to a song you will not name 
and people die,
you make them want to die. 

You are a spirit, 
we are making you a spirit. 

You cry into your voices, 
they calm you, tell you stories to make you sleep 
they speak so no one else can hear 
like children whispering in beds on opposite sides 
of a dark room 

I do not know how long you will let yourself live, 
let your mother bathe you in the holy water 
of her sexual horror, hang 
your brother’s death around you like relics, 
wrists of hair,
how long you shall bear the melodramatics 
of a dying season, winter’s
bruised-purple thighs, the ice shrieking,
the foam wiped off the wind’s lips.

You told me how you stuffed plant food down your throat
thinking you would die,
you think because you foresaw your brother’s death, 
he is dying,
you want to die now, Sarah,
you write me you have taken the screens out of the windows
you see death in the faces of salesgirls,
in the small palms of children

Bury your drugs, those old aunts,
forsake despair,
that Victorian summerhouse of dying relations,
its glass doorknobs, its rosepapered
hallways, its cakework

You are a spirit,
we are making you a spirit,
in the place where you sit, we are making you a spirit. 

On my desk as I write, I have a knot of wood
the size of a truckdriver’s fist,
knuckles of one of the thieves of the cross,
wood snaked over wood,
an albino, a boy who has come to bear his own brilliance 
gave it to me, laughing
“it’s a hole in the universe,”
it must have been worn by rain a long time,
jarred out of the space
it left, like you loosening yourself from the deadrot
of the present, weathering the future,
having to weather it again,
the thick fist of your body, that hard knot
working its way
out of the grain, a wrist of wood,
a relic, a voice
jarred free.