Curled up in this square of a room —
my new home because I fill it
with valuable trinkets and cheap furniture
brew tea and make love
but it takes conviction.
I walk in my sleep
claw the floor boards, grasp for roots.
“Let me fall like a tree,” you say.
I rub my eyes raw,
mourn broken branches.
Cracked and spent, my new love lifts me
off the floor. That table that shelf that lamp —
they are strangers, solid and angular
props in this afterlife
I am living step by step
slow motion prisoner.
He’s leading me out
my teeth crunching the gravel — no, my feet —
through the iron gate onto the street.
I’ve rounded this corner
swayed between these margins — curbs —
countless times slipping through the landscape
of my neighborhood a foreign country
grasping for sign posts and chimneys
balancing on ledges and rooftops gravity gone
time the current that bears me
as my knuckles drag along the hidden riverbed
turning stones. He carries me;
urban flotsam drifts by
and my limbs dangle and trail
among the wreck.
So this is my Ark, my Noah.
When I open my eyes I’m back
on firm ground
with the animals. I blink
at the big scowling pig
put my hand on her bristled back
feel beneath a crust of mud
her coursing blood and pounding heart.
The donkey’s felt ears
twitch, absorb my signals
and he rests his flour-dipped muzzle
in my palm. With clacking hooves
the goat locks me in a yellow stare:
irregular pupils the keyholes
of an ancient door.
They rouse me from my underwater coma
their bulky breathing shapes
in the pens of this city farm
an ode to survival.