Breathing Lesson 101

This is your liver on Heinekin
and when the Boy’s buying: Guinness.

The body can turn itself Legend without permission, requisition,
or even permanence which you learn in second grade after Greg’s accident
left his hands unable to work the arithmetic;
his loping gait plastered by seatbelts for every part, even his ankles.

This is the summer of your sadness and the salvation of fire;
ash renewing the Earth that had once been claimed by a home
full of family; and saying hello to the newest developments on her
planet, a brown body orbiting dangerously close to your prudence.

This is the girl in those woods with whom you practice a tongue that never tires;
is the way it is hard to think and speak in a language that is not your own.

This is the first fist, then the seventeenth.
And these?  Teeth noisy and wet in her pocket.

She told you it takes a real person—bone, flesh, protein
to make these markings the color of the hieroglyphs on
Egyptian tombs; traces them until your skin announces recognition in tiny bumps;
until they are reasonable, palatable, manage definitions

that even when held tightly like paper in sweaty palms
melting to flakes, the route they plan a mystery,
the distance is covered by rote idiocy.
An idiot who persists will rarely find Wisdom but always his Way.

This is you loving her.  This is the language you never quite understood
and this is how you conjugate the verb to fit your longing.  Is You and She.

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