In my dreams, I am this girl
posing before the mirror of someone else’s desire.
singing for a summer of the heart.
Awake, I wish a different way.
Awake, I am looking at my palm full of coins —
they are so much grind and clang.
There is nothing I can do for this girl
I am thinking of all the desires I could not fill
so much thirst in the vast desert mirror
where I see only that I am not enough water
to fill you, to sate you, to soothe you, the bathe you,
You being the infinite ranks —
Me a river with a dam upstream.
Temptation is to remove the dam — explode it —
and flow unfettered into your valley of
thirst and parched death,
a grandiose idea and vain.
You would drown and never forgive me.
But can I stop being a river?
Can I stop singing this begging song?
In my dream, I’m trying to puzzle you out
lying on the floor inspecting pieces of talk
watching also with some dream sense
your eyes that lock on me
at the center of this circle — you are walking
in circles and watching me,
and I want to ask, “Why did you never kiss me?”
But the ordeal’s not done, so it’s not for me to ask.
I awake to my deep flaw:
Ain’t I a woman?
Well, aren’t I?
Quick as the moonrise when you’re drunk.
Persistent as regret.
Sharp as the taste of cunt.
Ain’t I a woman, too?
It’s not for you to answer,
But I look for the voice of your whole sex,
to define myself against your face,
your eyes, your mouth, your throat.
To define myself as not just other but
That which the original desires.
Speak now, man. Speak!
In my dreams, I am silent.
Men pronounce edicts in every direction.
If their words drew rays from their mouths to points infinite
they would cast a net
and all of us be caught.
I watch this fanciful creation of their wills
and rest under a net of stars,
under the inescapable sky,
reclaiming my voice with silence so
the sound of it will startle and the truth of it will shake
these idiot kings whose mothers placed them
on thrones they could not mount,
but my tongue lies still
a sleeping ghost in my mouth
until the river rises.