Becoming (from memory and a Hocąk tale)


some futile thing that can’t be secured

(attention or a plastic toy – does it matter?)

he slams his bedroom door

stands for a long moment before

the goldfish bowl

and knocks (a part of him,

split off, will call it an accident, knowing it isn’t)

the food container

into the water – their small happy mouths

open and open

(greedily we fill ourselves with regret)

the fish float on the surface

suddenly he finds it hard to breathe


two men go out hunting

their quarry (a racoon, or a spirit in disguise)

disappears into the hollow

of an immense tree and they find there

a fish

one plucks it out and cooks it

offers morsels to the other, who isn’t sure

but wanting what his friend has, he takes and eats

immediately becoming

unbearably thirsty

he drinks but no water is enough

frantic, he wades out into the river

scales cover his skin, gills open in his neck

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After Being Examined Again



that’s enough now

       I’ve had                       if there is

standing in front of mirrors                          only here there is

breathing in and holding                         the way skin breathes

lift that leg                                               thoughtless

wait here and read this                      I would

questionless                                        bury my head in air

(dare I say it) for us

everyone (else) an expert                  there’s no need

for signs

that’s enough                          thought

seriously                                weighs on us from the inside

forty five years

medicalised                           shame

wrong                                             each appearance another layer

I      can’t      tell      you

heart a fist

what pushes me                                             seed or ceding

onto the ceiling                                                 decay

to watch                                                         and mulch

if I                                         if there is

could be unre mar kable                             anything but being

something burnt on

tested                                                                          the memory

under machines                                 let me be

not yet enough                                   enough

not quite here

brought                                                 this territory six feet high

to a small point                                                          and infinitely

a meeting of axes                                                       defect ive

in the cavity of the chest

I would bury

pleas                                        these feet      in earth

know I’m unkn own

these                           ruins to be

failures                        tenderly sketched or

what gift                                                                    held

so me one




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