LIFE UNDERWATER

I started wearing a heart rate monitor
All the time
I got it originally to figure out my threshold on the bike
I haven’t gotten around to doing that yet
When I first put it on
I guess it hadn’t made proper contact
I looked down at the watch
It blipped a tiny radiating pulse like a submarine Doppler
Searching for a beat
My friend pulled my shirt up licked the sensor and stuck it back to the place just beneath my breast
I laughed
There it was

Now when I walk
I look at my wrist obsessively
Dick Tracy waiting for a secret message

I am thirty now
And I worry, nightly; I will be too old too soon
To be a mother
I worry that I am a child

I interpreted an ultrasound
For a deaf person
A communication with the beyond
The doctor searched for the right spot
Made contact
And I heard the muffled, galloping sound
Of someone trying to survive underwater
I opened and closed my fist to show her the rhythm of a pulse

I have no god
And I don’t want one
But what I do want is a sign
That I am alright

Tonight I sit on top of a closed toilet and watch water fill the bath
The best part of the day
A reentry to the womb
Right before I get in
I remember myself
I unhook the monitor from my ribs
And get in
Submerged, I listen for the galloping
But hear only neighbors
Shifting furniture downstairs

When I’m done I can’t help the compulsion
To put it back on
And when I do I get the message

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NAKED

Her nudity is a gift she’ll give you
After a week
A month if you’re very unlucky
You’ll marvel
If you’re bold
Or you’ll miss it because you’re shy
But eventually
You’ll have a half hour
To stare at her

And before she becomes mundane
Before her butt walking away from you
To the bathroom or the kitchen
Becomes wallpaper

Take a good look at her
And remember the paper-white of her
And remember that she fascinated you
With the novelty of beginning

And how once her butt walking away
Was the reason why you everything

LIKE POEM

Sitting in the meadow in the early morning

I can’t enjoy anything as it is

Because everything is some kind of smug, smiling metaphor about you.

A teeny purple flower optimistically popping out of short grass in early spring is you.

A book of poems I am holding in my lap is you.

Even the poem inside about the Civil War is you, too.

Quite and stillness, of course you.

Trees bending, you.

Cars parked in the driveway, less obviously, but still you.

The rolling hills of the countryside, you.

The cloudless sky, polka dotted with birds

Most certainly you.

SHORT SONG

I have always hated birds

They’ve given me plenty of reasons

Waking me up on a hungover morning when I lived on the park

Dropping acorns on my tent like teenagers egging a house

Animals that travel alone don’t bother me so much

Chipmunks, squirrels, the neighborhood cat

They don’t make me itch the way a small team of cheerleading robins do

Today I lay in a hammock of a paradise retreat

And listened to the three-noted call of a bird I cannot name

And I can’t help but empathize, for a moment

As a person who can be utterly sick of her own personality

Three notes is a short song to sing