Ode to My Ashy Feet
I peel the skin back
on my cracked and blistered feet,
and disgusted by my own delight,
I behold their snakeskin,
amazed by how much I can shed
and still be myself.
Bearer of trampled stories,
unread unlike the lines of my palms,
stuffed into size seven cherry red heels
and years of beat-up work boots,
scorned messenger of mud
onto just-mopped floors,
toenails dented, broken, purpled
under a misplaced toolbox,
still unaccustomed to the black heat
of August asphalt, admonished
for all they cannot do.
Lotion does them no good,
husking as they do on long walks,
But it’s true: all things fight
to stay alive, no matter how ugly,
my bunioned inheritance burst
through cracked earth like so much cattail,
bulltongue, duckweed, cutgrass, bullwhip.
I love their insistence;
they are where I go.
Aubade With Creek Bed
On my worst days I doubt
even water is wet.
At my best, I doubt some more,
but ever since you touched me,
all this light has been leaking
out my body in ways I can’t explain.
I am sinking in the wave
and particle of it all,
in the infinite and infinite, the everything
even the mosquito fodder,
even the stagnant creek beds.
I come from women
who made the river run
backwards with want,
who only dared walk towards freedom
under the moonlight.
For years men called me
hurricane so I marked my body
with red spray paint, high water lines,
but now even the light
has started to flow like water.
I think if we really tried, we could walk
until the river becomes ocean again,
but half drunk on creek water, all I say is
that I will not give you my name, this fat past,
this heavy, fought-for thing,
but if you let me,
I will sleep in the part of your bed
where the sunlight pools.