No and You Cannot
Rinsing a dish, I think:
When I grow up, I want to be a poem!
flaring, burning, writhing, flaming, feel my body
shrivel to ash, feel my soul
“Ri-dic-u-lous!” the twins chorus
No and You Cannot, that pair
who live in my head, have lived there
my whole life, givers of doubt
little shivers, always with me
They’ve strung hammocks, hung lanterns
sometimes, they sleep
their relentless snoring
rising, falling, sawing—a backdrop like the cicadas
outside in the mulberry tree
I sort knives, forks, spoons, bowls
Snug in my brain, the twins curl, lulled by my clatter
I scrub at some eggy crust and quietly think:
Sweet pumice stone,
Meet beating heart
Grind it down, down
grind it down, smooth it away…
You Cannot kicks me. No (so dramatic!) screams in her sleep.
My dogged heart keeps on
enduring, enduring, enduring
Can you hear it? Like the cicadas
like the deep breaths of my hopes and my dreams
rising, falling, enduring
enduring, enduring. I’m fifty-two.
And I’ve decided: when I grow up, I want to be a poem.