Shouldn’t I feel walled off here, walled in, safe
and newly-locked, watching this winter storm
smother the pines, not skinned by memory:
a glove’s rows of stitches, pillow pushed down
tight as a body on mine? Light—from where?—
let me see finger-edges, curled before
my eyes, my head turned just in time to catch
a gasp before he pressed with all his weight.
My mind said please don’t let the pain be great
when the knife comes in, it said one, two, three,
seeing only those threads strung through leather—
where was the light? January—the snow
blankets the cedars, a little sky breaks
in on dirty ground, everything is gray,
inside, outside, it’s all the same. My hands
twisted back, fastened. Air enough for one
tattered petition beneath the sudden
shade of a hood—holy mary mother—.
Body outside, inside, a little light
leaked in, my breath restored by his sudden
rise and god help me just then I felt saved.

Before me was set,
in darkness: life, death.
A voice was inside,
in me already.
I stumbled, guided
by strange hands behind,
winging my bound arms,
until the tub’s cold
lip kissed my bare shins
and the voice said step
in. Begging, oh yes,
not to die, thinking:
basin for blood, who
would discover it—
turn the key, walk in
on the empty bed,
the body there, cool
already—the voice
whispered in my ear
and the bath ran warm,
deep, ends of the hood
baptized, hair-ends, how
open I was, how
cleansed, how full of grace,
raised to my feet, brought
back as I was—blind,
dripping, and fractured.

The animal in me said cry out—
I would have confessed to anything—
but the halo-shine of the street lamps
outside the window, each filament
of light snaking radiance, whispered
to me: silence, silence. And the voice
echoed in the chamber of my mind,
could have been mine. He was no stranger
than the rest of the broken world from
which, in sleep, I’d turned (even as glass
shattered below and the windchimes rang)
under the moon’s cold eye. How easy
it was to enter, my door with its
many panes, my thin skin, though the storm
clouds must have been, even then, at their
congregation. Silver air outside,
sleet fierce against trees, is this morning
again? Or another unmarked hour
through which to darken the memory:
the bruise of that gesture, that kneeling,
abject, in naked gratitude, to find
the wound no deeper, in thanks for that
one chance to crawl, tied, split and bleeding,
to a broken phone, to watch this dawn?
This snow-tempest insinuating
day. Everything gray, with bright needles
stabbing through killing ice. They’re so green
they seem lit, stiff, stitched into the fog.