Issue 108, Fall 1988
It’s as natural to begin to age
as it is to insist
on chocking the wheels with heads of peonies
but futile to continually
glance away at the velvet landscapes
lining the clefts between Chinese mountains
and so stop short.
My age is 29, two numbers
mildly astonishing, as when
a zoo seal shakes the droplets from its lashes
to gaze on a concrete concession hut.
I own, I mean, I share
one cat, one collander, a set of sharp knives,
a view of black city rooftops that shine
as if they’d been wept upon.
No matter how relentlessly I perform this act
of piling year upon year
my hide stiffening over the inner purple gush,
soreness, sometimes physical,
a sharpening hand,
increasing, boring desires to discourse —
I lie trapped in low-ceilinged rooms
where sand drifts up against the splashboards
to drown fast in the wet grease of dreams
while outside the planets, murderously ravishing,
are sucked careening through a sky
that is ancient as the face of a newborn.