itinerary (new colossus)


One dream I have is the voice of the statue is gunfire.

Mother calls, the landlord calls—the line is silent.

I watch myself decompose in the mirror a minute.

I check for bites.  I check nothing’s left of the oats.

I wait for a word to appear in my alphabet soup.

My friends swoop down like owls and fly into the wall.

Tell me what I owe, and screech, and fly into the wall.

I wash myself and think how mother dressed a wound.

I dress myself and think how father cleaned a fish.

Heidegger tells me three dangers threaten thinking:

one I call liberty, one I call oats, one I call what I owe.

Soon the landlord will come and admire my soot.

His heaps, he wonders, which of his heaps will he bless?

His hand inside my hand is like holding a handful

of poppies, or a handkerchief a child dipped in milk.

When I leave I’ll count the women without children.

If I don’t I’ll count their children’s broken guns.

The train to work will stall beneath the river.

I’ll try not to say how close the end of self comes:

like a handful of poppies, or the bowl they rest in,

or the water filling them both—each possesses

nothing the water coming through the window won’t.

Soon I have a dream I take the city down with me.

I strike the name of my company from the building.

A friend writes the word wisteria and disappears.

The elevator falls a story—I use the word god.

A man I’ve met introduces himself and collapses.

Soon the bees forget.  Soon the colony collapses.

I tell one of the workers to tell me how she works.

How I work is my business, she says, and collapses.

Home I undress how my father rinses an apple.

I rinse my mouth how my mother undresses a man.

The play I see is the man playing me collapses.

The woman I see is the voice of a gun when it backfires.

One dream I have is you visit me, Emma Lazarus.

One must bless his heaps is all you’ll tell me.

One I call colony, one I call soon, one I call what collapses.