Placing A Mask Of My Face Over My Face
I aspire only to silence. I could not let you know
this I was told, and yet here I am releasing sounds
once stored miles below your shoe. Rules make me
want to run to a glass room, vomit a broom, and blind
each wall with dank river mud. I could say you will
stab my every exhalation and it will not harm me.
You will charm me and make me kinder and smarter,
lilting the tilt of the planet. I can't quite see the trace
of your face, yet I'm told it resembles a baggie of frozen
starlight, a shot glass of lung water, a vial of sea salt
vapor. I aspire only to invisibility, the skin around the rain
droplet on the back of your hand. I don't know you,
or I know you but don't yet belong to you, the slight
scar on your throat. I feel stronger, the rules flimsier,
after I've found in the corner, under the carpet, a slim
black turd. Perhaps you wish to smack me, so I'll glow
about the head. I'm never certain when you're in
the garage, engine running, what you grasp of desire.
That crescent moon only seen through the bottom
of a rusted bucket. Thus I leave you, listing with silence,
aspiring only to what shall be spilled.
winner of the James Tate Poetry Prize 2019