Seaside Improvisation by Richard Siken
I take off my hands and I give them to you but you don’t
want them, so I take them back
and put them on the wrong way, the wrong wrists. The yard is dark,
the tomatoes are next to the whitewashed wall,
the book on the table is about Spain,
the windows are painted shut.
Tonight you’re thinking of cities under crowns
of snow and I stare at you like I’m looking through a window,
You wanted happiness, I can’t blame you for that,
and maybe a mouth sounds idiotic when it blathers on about joy
but tell me
you love this, tell me you’re not miserable.
You do the math, you expect the trouble.
The seaside town. The electric fence.
Draw a circle with a piece of chalk. Imagine standing in a constant cone
of light. Imagine surrender. Imagine being useless.
A stone on the path means the tea’s not ready,
a stone in the hand means somebody’s angry, the stone inside you still
hasn’t hit bottom.