By Olena Kalytiak Davis
Yes, it’s daily
that we move into each other—but this morning
I was separate even from myself—
my hands were shovels, I had mosquito netting for hair,
and the insect beating against the night
was my heart. My name was hallow
and the sky was made of shale when
I walked into a part of morning
I’ve never seen: the sky still heavy, still
smoldering with the nightmares of others,
the drunkenness and sorrow rising like dew, like fog,
like smoke back into the clouds. Suddenly,
my face was wet with it. I wanted to lie down
with it. To rest against the almost exhausted night.
Uncertain of what to do there
I started dividing the layers, the sediment,
thinking: Usually I sleep through his sadness.
And the morning asking: Why do you keep track
of the middle of the day when you should be
waxing the moon? How can these young fragile branches
be left out in the darkness, and who set that darkness
wandering inside your heart? Who can your love ignite,
like this, like kerosene?
And then the sky lit the morning.
And then I went in to set my own house on fire.
And then I lay down next to you:
a body filling with feathers or with snow
asking: and who are you that my love can light
like this, like kerosene.
University of Wisconsin Press (November 1997)