To hear the poet read “1-A, 1968,” click here.
I threw myself down the corridor
to fracture my skull or separate my shoulder–
to get out of the Army, but I was a coward.
To conscript the body of the boy,
I had to nurse the dying
and woo the nervous girl I was who cried.
I was of two hundred thousand minds,
one wavering one wanted to outlive
the Asian rain and wind
where the grasses were bent
by the rotors and I saw myself borne
on a stretcher with my organs.
Another mind wanted to die
for a body other than this specimen
I was, the body of the becoming one,
woman not yet beloved. If only
I could dent the dry wall
by running down the carpeted hall
of the apartment and show the draft board
the courage of my fear. Judge
and jury. I just wanted to be loved
or senseless, I could not not miss
myself, the yellow wall was my politics
and the pitch of my childhood’s wish.
I ran as fast as I could, but I could not run
fast carrying the man I was like a pillow
so that I might suffocate my shadow.