by Renwick Berchild

Storms have no vows to speak,
refineries of ejecta and longing,
streaked with insurmountable ugliness and beauty –
polarities is what I’m talking about.
The voyeur in love with chastity, the bones unhollow
and growing on skin as hair,
light as a panther walking on the promenade.
It’s all to me, quite riveting.

Was I ever quiet? I ache to be.
Both women and men have confessed to me in passing
of how they wish they wielded my brazen tone,
my willingness to be, my social bombastity to chat
with every human being who is feeling loquacious.
I wish I was quiet, as a flower unfurls without word,
as a cat makes decisions without sentences,
to be the one who slips in and out of lives,
to be as a spirit, moving through.
Why is it that dream I dream;
why can I not want my bowling gait?
I’ve made strides, but I am always met by a split in the world.

Owls were the favorite bird of my mother’s mother.
She was loud like me, in love with the quiet unblinkingly eyes of night.
And my mother loves action, though she is easily rattled,
and my father loves logic and science fiction,
and he is neither logical nor fictional. My sister plumbs depths,
though she’s thin as string,
with a one track mind and a folded dollar bill for a stair.

Most hours I feel I have nothing,
as if I might suddenly gasp dust.
The days of long waiting for a reckoning to scoop me
have grown tired, and groan mud.
Interesting is the adjective wood for my fire;
nothing is so void and lifeless as that hearth.
I burn all manner of things in it, but it always needs more.
I wonder if I were to stop, if I would grow long and cold and flat,
as a street in winter. Only that bit of blacktop unlit by lamplight,
the section growing grass and moss,
with garbage in every crack;
me, a small island of discarded,
desperate needs. Storms slice me
as they do all others.


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