Sunday, October 25, 2020

Inheritance (A cadralor)

David J. Stang, "Piper auratum," 2007

The ends of my fingers smell like clay
and hoja santa. It’s leftovers for supper
after digging in the dirt, the grit between
my teeth extra spice for the mole verde.
My mood? Nixtamal blue, bitter, alkaline.

I’m trapped, I’m free, I’m old and dying, a shock
to myself, someone’s baby left to freeze on a hill.
See those bones bent at the edge of the woods,
a soul dowsing for a womb. The fall wind stutters,
turns itself inside out for me, then scours me pink.

Radio sending me the right beat for a slow
shuffle, a gliding two-step around the living
room and I start to dance but it’s just me, so
I stop. When did I last dance with my fingers
laced through a stranger’s belt loops, formal
yet intimate, wheeling, an orrery in sawdust?

Nostalgias seize me the way demons seized
St. Anthony, lifting me up into the thin cold air.
(Schongauer, through Michelangelo, and both
so removed from my particular conceits. Could
they have even imagined a creature like me?)

My father, driving me to ceramics class when I was
eight, listening to the radio, forgetting for a moment
I was there. He sang along to “The First Time Ever
I Saw Your Face,” transported by some longing that
embarrassed me to hear it; that longing’s mine, now.

1 comment:

Jessamyn said...

Oh, gorgeous. The second stanza, and then the fifth, slayed me.