My Flickering Body

Unwrap the silt-blanketed stone
at the bottom of your heart.

Reveal yourself.

Dredge the pond.

Find your other body.

Bring her back to the surface,
where the bobbing copper sun
will balance again
like a penny on her lips.

The water is covered with weightless coins:
copper, gold, silver, bronze —
blinding.

She keeps her eyes pinched tight.

Shake her awake.

For a moment,
there is no one inside the body.
The body is mere reminder,
receptacle for the lost stone,
the stone that skipped across the mirror
in defiance of gravity,
then finally obeyed.

The girl-child finally obeyed.
She waits, blue as shale,
wedged deep inside the fluid world,
disrupting its swirling patterns,
stubborn as stone.

She wants to sink.

Strange how the body grows heavier
as the heart shrinks.

Breathe the sun back into her.

She swallows the sun, becomes the dawn.
Roseate clouds gather beneath her skin.

This other body —
my flickering body —
coils like a wreath of fog
around a core of stillness.

At the center is silence.
At the center is emptiness,
clear as the March air.

Wait, no
at the center is the decision
not to ask for another thing.
At the center is acceptance.
Open-mouthed sleep.

Yes, this other body sleeps
like a cloud on a lake,
a lake that fills a crater
with astonishing cobalt blue.

This body touches its mouth
to the blue, blue mirror,
sipping surface shadows.
Not moth, but winged cocoon.
Hovering, dipping, drifting, waiting.

(It’s not waiting if it feels like sleep.
It’s not waiting if it feels like floating.)

I have been there,
in a slow white boat.
We were there together.

No other boats were allowed
on the water at Crater Lake.
No swimming allowed at all.
The bold sign warned us
not to hike down into the crater,
unless we could hike back up.

The other body’s skeleton disappears.
Its head arches back
to meet the soles of its feet.
Its cloud of hair grows back inside its scalp,
knots itself in circles
inside the translucent skull.

It fills the skull with flickering light.
It fills the skull with a tangled white nest.
In the center of the nest: a grey-blue stone.
In the center of the stone: a lightning-shaped crack.
In the center of the opening:
a fingernail,
a fingertip,
a hand like a wet lace glove.

Tap-tap.

One body is drifting awake.
The other body is drifting asleep.

My two bodies meet
at the jagged seam
between dream and reality.

(It’s not a dream if it feels real.)

My two bodies meet
at their gauzy fingers, interlaced.
They hold hands, always becoming one another.
They hold their breath and close their eyes
as they trade places,
as they swim inside each other’s skin,
then forget, again.

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