What Are You, Waiting?
You are growing and this is a starry condition.
Move about this small room called earth
as if fear fell asleep in some other room,
a seat at the table you’ll just leave empty.
Leave space in bed for the succession of years,
let them turn to fit like a dog asking warm.
Let the song in your throat disturb your sleep.
What are you, stuck? Set your watch to longing.
Watch worry’s rope necklace fray and fall away.
Children run with sparklers. Such light can’t last.
The world is a study in velocity.
What are you, waiting? What are you.
Anyway, love will arrive by parade
some winter Tuesday morning, wearing you
like a flag wrapped round its fortunate body.
Poem Beginning with a Line by Anne Stevenson
When we belong to the world,
we become what we are.
With the whole of my body,
its aching fins and murderous thirst,
the ship of my ribs
so often pinned under slouch,
I am sure that I want to keep myself.
Though I have drunk and dried
and feasted on shame,
though my wounds are clean
and I write letters to beestings,
this is the only carousel spine
I must turn aflame and glow.
In the blue-tiled fountain, my face
waves over pennies unthumbed
from those who knew it best to count
out hope a single cent at a time.
Mine the only cavemouth
will poison the sun for looking in.
Still, it is morning this morning,
it is morning, just take it.
I am turning back then lungful,
smoke-stumble born into whatever
field will allow me, gasping.
Tuck in the razor’s silver arms
with their fire alarms clear. In this world,
the bridge over must burst
from my tongue. In these waters, the oars
flutter down from lightning.
I will strike my own god to go on.