when they turn ugly
are the more familiar landscape
and taste real in their message
though I drive them out
like wolves from the lambs gate must
be refused
prophecy or fear demands
we turn the taste of metal in our mouths
wondering which alchemy
holds the pick
to let us out of this clink
wrists accustomed to confine
sometimes I climb inside the nightmare
looking for signs and meaning
did one mind really create this world?
why am I so talented at weaving
the wrong perspective and
so weak in my try out for cheer?
was it the day I was left alone
to forage and forget how to be
one of you
or in wandering too far from the path
did I eat poison and lapse into a sleep
from which I am still part?
is this real or
do the hands of my foes
restraining wakefulness
feel the heavier and familiar both?
for we learn to grind our own grain
the sounds the pain
separate the chaff from the seed
who is and who is not
trust the mask
trust the god
trust the cat who sphinx like will
scratch and spit
they say women have no sisterhood
and circumcision can rent our heat
they veil us and shave us bald
we stand in our sagging against the merit
and scald
I recall once hearing a woman berated
for not sucking deep enough
without needing to see
I felt her knees ache, her back bend
her neck like a wilted flower
given out of obligation not affection
it taught me
to suck long and hard
in hope I could
remove the stopper holding us down
bursting we’d climb
out of our bottle
genii’s in rags
what would the world do if
men became pregnant and jin
held the whip?
what would the world do
if women no longer tore at each other
with blackened nails?
what would the world do
if I learned the way home
and nightmares were left to fringe
the lonely woods beyond
where crows pecked the gloat
exulting in their horror
what would I do
if I woke up whole
and climbing out of a sun filled bed
went downstairs to breakfast
and there you were
your arms out, your knives dull
sitting at the table set for all of us