SELF-PRESERVATION AUBADE

 

I have made book of your body, read 

in your heavy lids the hooded font of sleep,

made, even, punctuation—your ticks 

accenting anxiety like apostrophes.

 

I’m sorry I read you, but I need to sidestep 

the language your body rings—its emotions 

all bells clanging in my mind’s cathedral 

what might soon become danger

 

or a tongue-torched anger—balled

fist, tight-knit jaw, a murkiness crawled

behind the half-drawn valance of the eyes, 

this study, this habit, what my therapist calls

 

a survival mechanism, after four years learning

a mother could machine-gun the thinness 

of my sheet metal peace. At least this means,

I’ve survived. At least, this means 

 

when the sun dispatches bullets

through my curtain, I will be holy 

and wholly breathing. I will mirror,

the glassy stillness of an October dawn 

 

before cars split their beams through the glint

of it, and if I could just hold the autumn in  

do you think I could be beautiful? because

when I’m angry, I Shar Pei in a quiet rage, 

 

and when I’m sad, my lips plump 

and droop like plums, at least this means 

there’s sweetness still—and together

we might mechanic with any tool clanking

 

on my belt because we love us some me, 

or least, I believe I can believe you 

when you tell me you want to see 

my face damned with morning again, again—

Diamond Forde