BY MICHELLE LEE
Here and there I’ve left slipknots of selves
for dead, oaken and unmoving, yet somehow
they’ve unravelled, looping out from beneath
so many sweaters and mothballs,
those buried in brown boxes and stuffed
under stairs, ready to be sold or given
away. They tug at my neck,
a scar, a noose, a seizing in the bight.
When I stopped at a red light
she hopped out and stayed in Utah,
land of low sky and high earth
sharp with snow and pine.
If I squint, I can see the taut line of smoke
from her chimney beside the creek.
She fishes at sunset with twine, when she says
mouths are lazy and open.
Later I walked on the cape
and watched a rocket reel over turtles
hatching. I stepped out of my shoes,
let the sea lip them away.
She swims with sennits of stars
and slips into bottles,
her cheek pressed against the glass and reading
other people’s messages.
Further on I crossed a bridge in Cebu,
avoiding the dark root of a water buffalo
as I clutched wood and fiber beneath my feet,
trembled wide over water. I feel her jump
from the side, capsizing, a bend
into ripples. She eats mangoes whole
when the tourists leave and speaks Tarsier
to drowsy knots of fur fingering trees.
1304 Knightsbridge, I live in a two-story
house built in 1904 – Sears & Roebuck.
Hardwood floors, lemon-cake yellow, chipping.
We face the river.
I walk to work.
I put my baby to sleep by rocking.
I make love tight and binding.