Look, girl, I’ll say, in our country
we are lucky,
when the violence opens
its petals in the spring,
there are usually sirens,
a well-constructed building.
Elsewhere, a girl is a soundless instrument,
but here we trumpet,
cowbell, a window breaking—
even if no one answers,
we can hear the song of ourselves.
When detectives dragged boys we’ve loved
from beneath their mothers’ rhododendrons,
girls have been bone, daydream,
light through a window.
So forgive me
if there were no men in the room
when doctors removed you from the open wound
of my midsection—
& I thought it was some kind of miracle,
a burning bush
or a talking hedgerow,
all those women singing the hour and minute
like a benediction,
a way to bless us as we ran.
Perhaps it was just happenstance
when I drove us back to the place
I’d already left a million times,
& the only shelter beyond the venison jerky,
the Harley Davidson belt buckles,
was behind a door marked ladies,
when I balanced the two of us atop a toilet seat,
shared the milk I’d made
using the same parts of us that made you,
the same parts of me
that almost killed us both,
& another woman sang to us from the overhead speaker:
I recommend biting off more than you can chew to anyone,
There are plenty of animals, after all,
that betray each other:
wolves, bonobo monkeys,
the chinstrap penguin.
Of the seven million purple martins in the world,
not all of them leave their mates in the nest to go rape a neighbor.
Maybe I have spent too much of my life trying to discern
which of the creatures around me
may be more wild bird than lap dog—
male & female & the sea in between.
Plenty of good people
come down the mountain
what sent them there at all.