Listen to Paul Guest reading this poem. Maybe you wake up knotted in your bedclothes and what you thought your life was, it isn’t:
and whatever that was you’re forgetting anyway.
A lifetime peels away like a wet bandage.
Your first true kiss is now vapor. Ditto, the first
divorce. The first bone you broke.
Your last bicycle ride. Your first ambulance.
In that gummy dawn between sleep
and this cruelty, you are not so much a person
as you are litter. Even your bones knock
fearfully, as if they had been strolling
along in liquid moonlight with blood red roses
in their lapels, before being set upon
by a mob of animate mallets, clubs and blackjacks,
before waking in the foreign land
of your flesh. No one here speaks right.
No one here sells the map of all your memories.
Maybe the scratching you hear
at the window is not a tree’s tubercular branch,
a nest of jays in the elbow’s crook,
all of them starved and singing thin agony—
maybe what you hear at the edge of all
is some larger hunger, a were-beast,
matted with clots of fur, hunched and snuffling.
And maybe not. Already you seem
to yourself utterly soluble, like water in water.