“This is the only kingdom.
The kingdom of touching:
the touches of the disappearing, things.” —Aracelis Girmay
When I see wax, I think of submission.
I think of afterlife. I think of the sky
what it leaves behind. I used to think
myself a doe, then a hurricane. The muscle
inside the tongue. The prayer-sore. Again
& again, something foreign. Fugitive. So briefly
I was a girl. A young woman. A mule, mother, arm-
rest—the sky resting on a bridge overlooking
the river. That cold, cold water. I waded in,
three seconds to numb. & nothing. I can’t give in
to love. What will become of us
when it’s the child that is imagined?
Our gods: the fields under a haze
of mosquitoes. And lo, the stars’ white
fire. And lo, the splintered spines of spruce
trees. And lo, the disappearing hours.
I stretch my neck into the next life.
I breathe in the cherry blossoms & bomb-
scent of aftermath. I don’t care why
I didn’t want this. I lean into myself.
I take what is offered until I forget
I am what is offered. With the orchard
& the apple I didn’t name. There is
an hour that bears my grave already.
It’s late. I can’t help but wish I wasn’t
lonely. That I wasn’t made to disappear.