If I should drop my robes you would see
that I am dressed in quills of diamond
and the light from the cuts are small
animals in a wood, rabbits and sparrows,
iridescent witch-doctors and damp salamanders,
blind and alert. Resilient and silent,
my skin is humming with the sounds
of darkness. If you look carefully
through the vines you will see it
breathe. I am a white snail trailing
a diadem of minerals under the leaves.
I return at dawn and follow the lines
drawn by my belly in the night. The final
decomposition of a man, fear swirling near
the antennae. What kind of stranger
to himself opens the cauldron of midnight
and then denies it? What kind of spinner
of webs, like the harvester weaves in the
fields, spurns the hidden laws when the world
is light? Fear that I know, make a knot
of black steel and capture me in it. I
should brush my hair and pinch my cheeks.
I should enter the kitchen and watch
the squash boil. I should follow the dust
rolling under the table. In this way,
oh self, the being of nothingness can
answer me. The rich oil of night will
cover my skin, a sheen of witness to myself,
so I might take life like a lover and lower
myself to heavens and ditches, as if my
human bark alone were the songs of the crane
and my orange beak and blue feathers
the world I live in.