THE NIGHT IN THE WOUNDED MIRROR
The night in the wounded mirror
is only a childhood away from my face
and there’s always a shattered window
between me and my starless shining,
and a dead bird upturned on the sill
as if the sky, too, had its quota of roadkill.
Looking back from all these
lightyears and constellations away,
on the black day I was born under an eclipse
like a flower clenched into a fist,
an eye without an iris darker than a shark’s,
I suspect there was a lot more suffering back then
than I was able to live my way through,
estranged in the corner of a kitchen
that was a feeding frenzy of knives.
I still can’t leave one out on the counter
without fearing it’s just another punctuation mark,
the claw of a comma in a long sentence of blood.
At best, it’s the silver scar of the moon
that slashed me open like a well-honed loveletter
that wasn’t meant for me.
And I still don’t know how to approach
the child I was, the child I still am
time-travelling through himself like a glacier
as if he could put a stop to evolution
or survive his extinction
by keeping to himself like ice.
I look upon his solitude and silence,
the unaccusing indictment of his face,
like a cold, brass plague
commemorating the unidentifiable victims
of an atrocity that can’t be understood.
He’s still seven and I’m looping through sixty
like the spine of a calendar
shedding me like autumn,
a picture of turning leaves on every page,
until there’s no way of telling what age we are
in this season out of time,
and I want to love him, I want
to say things that could heal us both like water
before I take him with me into my grave,
but I don’t truly know how,
and there are secret vows of violation
that are taken without a mouth
and assassins of intimacy in the shadows
and children sleeping in snakepits
who make up their own bedtime stories
and dream of things that can’t be told to anyone
who hasn’t been devoured in their ancient infancy
by the furious innocence of the sea.
of a child in the night,
older than light
who has made more of me
than I can make of him,
when I weep for what he knows
and will not say, what am I,
what are these words
in the inky shacks of the trees
but the lengthening shadow
of the darkness that pours out of him like blood,
or duct-tape like moonlight over the mouth of a scream?
And if I come back now
like the legend I have made of his sorrow
to gather him up in my arms like a harvest under a full moon,
and if I sit with him all night
without saying anything
here on this skull of a rock
until each of us is the memory of the other,
could it make anything better,
would it take the thorn of the moon
out of the eye of the dragon
that sheds its skin like childhood skies,
not knowing where things end, things begin?