A gang of foxes on the wet road, fur
gaggle, the gutter a Ganges, gravel
rutting the glacier's slur and cant. Old proof,
the past can't solve itself, endlessly drawing
its stung logos spirograph. You see
the fox I cannot see; even the children
can see her, vixen and her babies
delicately picking their way along
the white line of the tarmac, the rain
rubbing out their shadows. I want you
as I want water, rain crocheting moss
from mist, sulfur on the pines' crooked limbs,
hapless as the selkie who hums to herself—
no one believes in her but there she is.
Cat claws on the heart's tin roof, each breath
a locomotive running off the rails,
the switching signal's warning rat-a-tat
I'm up too early, the alphabet net snags
and tears, moths, then motes, then gone. What I love,
I undo, eye for eye, tooth for tooth.
No one knows me, matchstick Guy Fawkes doll,
my burnt head micro-ember sunset gleams,
day moon hostage to the dark's slant dream.
What ghosts I have I won't or can't give up.
Impossible to love or leave, poor self
banging its head, wanting—what?
As if I knew what I meant or wanted,
baby voice humming: mouth skull smile.
Alfred A. Knopf
Copyright © 2017 by Cynthia Zarin
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission