You awakened to a busy helplessness
like the bright blur of the screen, like static—

What were you supposed to do, with all this wakefulness?
you couldn’t put straw in it & drink it
you couldn’t package it up & mail it to a friend

Your eyes were open, they couldn’t be closed, & you were going out of your mind


It was one thing to crave the man’s body

and another to have it

the body, with all its useless addenda
its million incomprehensibilities

The atomizing body—limbs, hands, even particles of skin torn free

accelerating all around you

and nothing to stop it

Not even the sparrow’s nest in the palm outside the window.


The man wouldn’t surrender,
so you had to surrender. Your body,
your intemperate mind, which was always
coming loose from its mooring
and drifting out to sea—

He loved it when you crawled toward him, I’ll be your slave

And didn’t something in you respond?
Didn’t some smaller head inside your head look up,

and nod yes, and then you were smaller
all smaller, and you liked it.


The Lovers, reversed.
That was your card,
it kept coming up, over and over

every time. You would lay
the cards out, patient with your questions,
your commitment to the future—

and there they would be, the man & the woman
naked, clasping hands, with their garlands
and rainbows. Upside-down.


So literal-minded.
So determined to see things only one way, your way,
was how he used to put it,

leveraging his body over yours,

so he could fuck you harder—


The point wasn’t the point.
Or it wasn’t always the point.
Maybe the point was the balloons
that wilted for months in the tree last spring.
You were captivated by them, kept
thinking they’ll be there forever.
The red, green & the blue, hanging like
false blossoms in the topmost limb.
And then one day they were gone.
And so was the limb that held them.


Now what did you know?


rage so complicated, you got lost
when you tried to think it through

rage like a labyrinth

And maybe that was the solution—
not to become the girl or the hero,

but the beast with the bull’s head

lurking in the center of the maze.