It's actually the first poem I've finished in two years, not for lack of trying, and I consider it a breakthrough poem in other ways as well. For those who know my previous work, you'll see it's much simpler. I feel simpler, in a good way, more connected to my body. Most of my past poems were coming from a traumatized consciousness that was located outside my body, floating above the earth, instead of connecting to it in a direct way through my senses and breath. Writing poetry and being in community with other poets has provided me with so much grace and healing I can barely remember who I used to be. Thank you. And thank you for reading this new. Take it into your bodies and breathe. Don't be afraid to lay on the earth. Believe your desires are beautiful, especially the ones you believe can never be satisfied.
When the deer lowered her head to drink
she was so lean I could see
water ripple under her fur
as muscles let go
of all the times she had frozen.
I wanted so much to stroke
the bridge of her nose, the bones of her face
under soft fur. I wanted to lie with her
in the goldenrod, for her to teach me
how to touch the earth with my whole body,
belly down, as if I belonged to it.
But she leaped into the brush, and I
sank into the goldenrod
under the shadow of a dream
I didn’t want, knowing thorns
would tear my skin if I followed.
I wanted so much—
the source of tears,
to know if dreams began or ended