The birds insist on pecking the wooded dark. The wooded dark
pecks back. It is time to show the universe what you are capable of,
says my horoscope, increasingly insistent this month.
But what I am capable of is staring
at the salt accident on the coffee table & thinking,
What sad salt. I admire my horoscope
for its conviction. I envy its consistency. Every day. Every day,
there is a future to be aggressively vaguer about.
Earlier today, outside the cabin, the sudden deer were a supreme
headache of beauty. Don’t they know I am trying to be alone
& at peace? In theory I am alone & really I am hidden,
which is a fine temporary substitute for peace, except I still
have email, which is how I receive my horoscope, & even here
in the wooded dark I receive yet another email mistaking me
for another Chen. I add this to a folder, which also includes
emails sent to my address but addressed to Chang,
Chin, Cheung. Once, in a Starbucks, the cashier
was convinced I was Chad. Once, in a Starbucks, the cashier
did not quite finish the n on my Chen, & when my tall mocha was ready,
they called out for Cher. I preferred this by far, but began to think
the problem was Starbucks. Why can’t you see me? Why can’t I stop
needing you to see me? For someone who looks like you
to look at me, even as the coffee accident
is happening to my second favorite shirt?
In my wooded dark, I try insisting on a supremely tall,
never-lonely someone. But every kind of someone needs
someone else to insist with. I need. If not the you
I have memorized & recited & mistaken
for the universe—another you.
“Nature Poem” is from When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities (BOA Editions, 2017)