I am Myself Three Selves at Least
I am, myself, three selves at least,
the one who sweeps the brittle
bees, who saves the broken plates
and bowls, who counts to ten,
who tends the shoals,
who steeps the morning’s Assam leaves
and when day is wrung
tightens clock springs.
And yes, the one who sat through youth
quiet as a tea stain, whose hand
went up and knees went down,
whose party dresses soaked with rain,
who dug up bones
of snakes and mice
and stashed them inside baby jars—
who did not eat,
but did not starve.
And the self who twists the fallen
dogwood sticks into her hair,
who knows the trick of grief
is there is nothing such as sin
and neither good to part
the air, whom autumn claims
skin by skin.
“I am Myself Three Selves at Least” is from How to Live on Bread and Music (Perugia Press, 2009).