When the writing is the panic of drowning. Really.
When you decide
because it is the only decision left, to breathe
then and the water-not-air ache realization
that before unconsciousness is
suffering. it will first have its turn.
these tears, now patch-dry salt streams
are that whiling smoke
murmuring in wind tones of smouldering fires in buried places
the congenital communion between heart meat and flesh-on-bone
the thing about meat from the heart is that it can withstand
it can be beaten.
it. will. still pulse raw, gut-red
but mine could not do it alone, it required mercy.
a living thing, it parched for compassion so the fire that caught, that night in the kitchen on fleshloam
with a conviction and sense of destiny imperturbable.
the urgency with which it caught became an voluble testimony to heartmeat beatings 17 years long
that urgency became my forehead slamming into the dashboard again and again before my mother could recline my car seat, hold me, and whisper blessings and prayers to the Lord
she hoped a child like this would never be her lot
but a fire that catches and catches will burn
but, peculiarly enough, not the skin
not the thick of the earth