after a story by Ramona Ausubel
This is how an arm grows
into a river: when you fall in
love a new tributary branches.
We are all drawn thin, drawn with shaky hands.
Come love, a candle lights
in a darkened window, then floats down a river.
Some keening floats inside the hollow
where the ribs knit together, then
snaps up in the dark, a packed swarming
the way a waterfall running backwards
would fall as it rises.
If love had come
I would have more to say, maybe.
I know a piece of what went wrong
and I am trying to get out.
Focus hard enough, rafts all around—
a chipped mirror, a teacup, an arm to grab.
A patch of sky worn thin, gold.
A bed can be a raft, a cliff.
Love comes as a hand that worms itself around the heart.
How can I move? How can I hold still?