I drank burgundy wine in Salem on the witching hour

With a blood relative we walked history laid streets
Believing not enough in ghosts and curses

When I woke vomiting, it didn’t stop for a year

Skin slackening like pomegranate robbed of juice

I visited a curandera who told me my lack of faith in god

And the broken parchment of family sin caused the curse

My mother said I brought it upon myself living in The Great Evil Of America

My neighbor brought me matzo and soup, as flood waters

Lapped at our doors, and storms flung their ragged clothes to heaven

It seemed it wasn’t just me who was coming apart, but the whole damn sky

Tearing with collective pain, in fragile gut, the acidity of global warming

My cat watched me writing on the floor, then yawned, exposing white fangs

it seemed oddly, a perfect response.

I think back to that time and I breathe

Into my stomach and into the devil I know intimately now

Standing straight like an arrow, shooting into the stars

I am re-purposed, ruined thrice over, still able to balance on one leg

For nothing has been the same since and just like those creatures of old

I am changed irrevocable, a hurled thing

Trying to find my way back is no kind of answer

Fragments don’t make a whole, we must recast clay

Forge and bake center where it will burst from white fire

Unrecognizable, a bird without parentage

My feathers are made of metal and tears

Sometimes when it is hot, they sweat into my eyes

Blurring my way forward

To some godless semblance of afterward

Looking nothing like before

8 Replies to “Looking nothing like before”

  1. Around it comes again, that verse from The Circle Game by Joni Mitchell:

    “And the seasons, they go round and round
    And the painted ponies go up and down
    We’re captive on the carousel of time
    We can’t return, we can only look
    Behind, from where we came
    And go round and round and round, in the circle game
    And go round and round and round, in the circle game”

    And the world is changed and changing, and we in it,
    Not as it was last year, last decade, last century, last week
    And we not as we were in the persistent march of birthdays
    The Carousel seems to spin faster as we ride the racing ponies

  2. It’s a hypnotic song isn’t it? She seems to just put her finger on the pulse of everything that matters. Makes you never want to try writing again when she’s that good, but then again we must keep trying to get close to her shine

  3. Indeed – We cannot take such as she as making an impossibly high bar to clear, but as showing a path up a mountain, or how to see into the heart of things.

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