Thursday, April 22, 2010

23.30 how to tell her

they don't understand
where your ladders come from
spiralling down from spruce, aspen, evergreen
to take root in life is to be

anything else is starving
sad, shifty as willow
weak to the air
easy to pluck and break

we were never this
wide hips to make homes
for ourselves as much as any
child likely to die or man
likely to die

don't come from that
were not born
to be sprinters
over flat deserts
reeds thinned by heat
shimmer of mirage

we were meant for darkness
welded from glacier
calves designed for trails
hills, incline
carriages and trunks carved
for controlling men
with their beards and ships

we stretched butcher arms to help cut the meat
pull the nets heavy with fish
we are mongers close to animals
tough enough not to thaw
tree trunks
with enough foresight to stock a larder
for the snows coming in
locking us shut
piled six feet high
for weeks

we were our own insulation
survival not worn in furs for fashion in scraps.
able to hold our liquor
we were and are always made to be
our own kindling.

young woman
there were eras of nights alone
we needed only ourselves to build the fire
tend the flock
cut, skin, tend, pull, pound, stir
gather grist, be a mill
whalers' wives knew the art of pace
and stiffened jaws

mens' opinions have always been
especially those who don't know
this ancestry of ropes tied in meticulous knots
operatic voices of saga

Ilmatar's children
need to be sturdy in the wind
substance enough to carry epics
cave painted on the insides of our mouths
even in distant countries.

how should we tell you this
what should already be known
as well as flame, earth, water
origins of shark bones and cosmic eggs?
pull tidal umbilicus
from your own blood
it's not too late to make the translation

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