I was so small. How could I ask?
There were no words for what was not
already full-grown inside me.
A simple gesture: Turn the wrist. Uncurl the fingers.
The night so vast against my open palm,
the heart exposed -- how can I hold it?
But the night sustains itself.
I learn that what is whole weighs nothing.
Desire reaches beyond its hunched boundaries
and the wanting opens still more,
stepping over the old measurements chalked
in the locked house of childhood.
I stake down the roots of this new site. I claim
the birthright of the third daughter, stolen
by her sisters, her child-mother, her own invisibility.
For the first time she outgrows the little pink room
its one wall of flowers, its one wall of fear
the strip of light pulsing under the door.
Now I want everything: the moonlight
spilling onto the neighbor’s porch,
that laughter, the air’s cool touch.
In this black pool of yard, the porch is a ship.
The stairway down to the fig tree, to the black,
blossoming apple tree does not touch ground.
I hold this thin, gold hand in mine,
its heart-pressed palm turned up.
If I can slow my breath to its cadence,
acclimate my body to darkness,
I will undress from all my desires
into infinite, weightless arms.