Dear Mother & Father, did you ever guess
in your wildest coupling what powers lay
just out of reach?
When I was ten I skinned my knees
& tarred my hands climbing the pine in our yard,
the needles breathing through their teeth,
until my ribs ached from pressing the trunk.
I had to know what happened
behind locked doors.
At sixteen I left school, at eighteen found a teacher
& at the age of twenty I finally learned how to walk.
You must make in your own body
a place for stillness, she said,
or you’ll never be more than muscle & bone
& nerves. On every stage, for every
packed house, I try to enter
the space between bride & bridegroom,
I ready myself in every limb
for the coming shakedown.
I melt & move so all may know
in their own lives what heaven
really tastes like.