Meadow, orchard, longing: it’s true that I rename myself.
It’s true that I remain myself, even with this town on fire.
In this town of charred trees, everybody becomes a wreck,
every body wrecked by smoke. In my hands, the heat of razed fields,
hot as the smoke rising above the fields. It’s true: I find disaster
and disaster finds me. After dark, I wind ivy around my hands,
bind my hands behind my back—to meet a girl in the pasture,
a girl I vow I won’t reach out and touch. I’ve starved
for so long, she says—to reach out, touch. The world turns brown:
brown ferns, browned flowers unfurling, brown hair petaling out
like my petaled open fingers, bronzed with summer.
And with summer comes the hunger, the smoke, the ash,
ash-white milkteeth I found in the jewelry box hidden
in my mother’s box-springs the year we thought the house would burn.
That year, we watched the woods burn. And, now, I trace blackened trees,
trace the blackened knee of the girl beneath me who fell
bruised in the blackened forest. The forest is a ruined cathedral.
Or I am the ruined cathedral, or the fire, or the meadow, or the orchard.