If We Should Treat Ourselves with Tenderness, this Fluttering Open
As if a sharp stick has pierced

the skin of a dream, a cardinal
appears in the tree across the road.

I look again. He multiplies,
remembering he’s more

than one. He makes himself
into five red echoes.

In the house that is an animal
that is the holy body

I am a window. Like the cardinal,
I’m a pupil, a pool

catching light and movement,
an aperture peered through

by some wild persistence.

Mysterious antecedent.

From the very beginning the body,
remembering itself in slow motion,

as if wading sideways into an overlap
of pronouns: not only

myself, but in-between-us,
a dynamism, a tsim tsum

synapse of radiant ache.

Here, and more than here,
the body has been places.

When you get on the bus,
drop your coins in the slot,

weave through a crowd.
When you remove your clothes at the end

of the day (carefully, as if
they belong to a loved one

recently gone). Who is sitting
with me on the bed’s edge,

who is sheltered under an eave. 

Intersection of loss and presence
makes a form of ecstasy

which isn’t bliss, but a crossing.

Are you lonely in the scent of pines as
I’m afraid in the blue light at 2 a.m.?

We branch ourselves
into the energetic spaces,

sense mutual tendrils.

I place my hand on tree bark
for the first time in years and apprehend

my own softness. Glimpse of my hand
as a child’s when I was forced

to pick my own switch
for punishment and so had

to see the oaks as broken
into weapons. But even

my sadness opens
the red bird which opens

the sky behind it, startles
open my fist,

my separateness, the moment
interleaved with

the familiar otherness of limbs.

Whole and alive, it can’t
be pinned down.

Like a voice chorded and thrown
through all the windows at once.
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