I've learned nothing. It was with me
then and always, every day a burning house
and me running into the street
with nothing but my lamentations, awful sounds.
And the alarms that sang when spoken to,
the stern involuntary muscles.
When I was hungry I tightened my belt,
if I wanted words I clenched my teeth.
I could hear the seconds boil up in a wristwatch.
And the words that dissolved into hard letters,
hooked into me, harmless, but forever hooks,
I ground down after them.
I had a slack face and an answer more convincing
than the pressure bulges in a weather front,
when things were difficult.
And when the easy people came, who laughed
and knew how to come back from laughing,
I knew what that was too.
I said that's old, it was always old,
I said, and I referred to my experiences.
And my words rang.
Sheep Meadow Press