Never much good at judging distances
or my own physical strength, I imagine
this morning that I could swim across
the Mississippi, be in Illinois by lunch.
I can see it clear from here; the grass
you’d be surprised is just as brown yet
still it’s humming: other. O! to emerge
today, on that exotic bank; a tip of my
hat to the cool affronted swans; slowly
stroll to any boxy old café; seek deep &
portly chairs, strange hum, trim cup of
soup – how warming, how well-earned!
Or, more: not swim at all, but shed away
this flaking shell; send Self abroad, sink –
slipping, slow – slick ooze through toes,
(or, what once were); then! only water, I.
Tongueless, sigh to sweating current; join
frantic gilded shards of sun, charge hard
across dark water – scalded skein, loosing
constellations – gone, shadow came along.
Reluctant, I return: Iowa, 1pm. Cleave soul
to bones and skin; itch with gravity; brush
river gauze from nails and hair – yet see! a
link or two come loose, & stink of freedom.