In lieu of language I give you my hands
to make this poem urgent.
Beware, I sign. Stay alive.
Here there is no night
only the adjacent dark,
the proximity of our breath.
Despite what I said,
I have made mistakes.
I chose the wrong book from the ruins
its spine turned to dust,
fossiled the memory of my mother
in crumbling slate
picked over bones for my poetry
made a mess of my flesh, wasted time
comparing my life to a ticking clock.
Do you remember how we lived
before danger? How with our senses
we collected joy, spread it
around on canvas and paper,
sent it out into the air?
Behind us the hills could be on fire
or alive with the spinning
lights of disaster.
Here are my fingers:
in my upturned palms, no congregation,
never mine to hold.