Here’s a little story:
writer was— we were—
in a family
how its means
meant you’ve been there too
tanking about, running over one another as in a war, haven’t you?
we were in an energy crisis over and over again
how could we have known any other way when we’ve always re-solved it
like a puzzle
but instead of missing pieces, we have extras, chewed by the dog, strewn about
—This is the landscape of the mind, memory, the escape of land sinking in the bog behind the
house, between the town and what you own.
You must have a family story that looks looked like this, look and see.
Perhaps the biggest folly
is to admit the storybook
to look into my own story
with fantastical desire:
what do I see but melody
sprawling out before me,
swallowing everything it sees.
And inside its mouth, a full set
of two-year-old teeth.
I remember the chewing as terrific.
The same mouth told me,
No one wants to hear
the story of the writer
who lived in a wood
and died spinning,
the mouth is stronger than the ear.
Will you be long
among the others
with their piles of buckeyes
torment and tender,
will you footle about
or will you move the car
from north to south
will you rear your head
will you hear your head say:
you belong to this family,
and you should know it.
Not just know it, understand it.
Bring the bucket back when you are done.
Bring the tongue into the house,
and stop it.
Press it on the roof, if you must.
Stop it or I will
drop you off on the highway
because I can’t stand the bickering
in the back.
You live in a family,
and this is the sort of conversation you find there.
If you’d rather not, you can fend for yourself in the forest.
And so you pack your rucksack, as others have,
but really you hide behind the barn
hoping that if you be long,
they will think you’ve gone.
They will wonder if you’ll be coming back,
and they will worry about how to fill the space
you once filled, what to do with the chair at the table,
the bed in the room.
But somehow you know you don’t belong,
this is some horrible mistake.
You are not of this place and people,
but of some much larger, much kinder place
where there is an empty space,
and those most-gentle
where you are,
where you’ve gone,
and if you’ll be back before long.