Reading “Winter Robin” at Community Forum on Addiction, 2017

 I watch the robin picking at worms beneath
the frost of a winter morning. Dedicated searcher
– I will find my vein and touch
the blood – firm,
tight transport to the heart.
Pecking before dawn, before
I head off to work. We are unsteady creatures
balanced on the frosted world – entering arm,
returning unfulfilled. Not robin: pinprick.
Earth or arm.

The bird and my body are sprawled
beneath that same frozen
sunrise. Taupe pile
of clumping powder,
wet sandstone, dampened image,
changing image into golden object. The Robin’s dull, kinked beak,
unable to stab, it rolls. Turn this needle gold. A pinch,
a soft fumble, collapse. Not collapse
but alchemy. Soften these iron veins. Treat
the arm like the earth, the arm no longer delicate,
hardened like the earth,
frozen meat.

sewing without thread. I once walked a road
I will never walk again. My footprints are still there, however,
deep or bloodless. My heels are still blistered,
the road has left its damage with me. Allow
this vagueness in my life, let me be
metaphor, keep myself safe.

When it collapses, it is a sinkhole big enough to swallow
the entire home:
mother, father, all. Man,
I’ve wasted a lot
of time not being forgiven.
I’ve wasted time not forgiving myself.
May there always beat stronger
may there be more graceful
not to absolve, but to cradle
and cradle again.
And once again to cradle.

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