My mother pushed and screamed. I splashed into the wild
rumpus already begun, the party of songs and a girl
who cannot sing.
I started climbing, searching, finding
everything I would not need. Fervent groping
lips in darkness.
I wear words like a skirt that twirls, dancing
in moonshine, drenched in the downpour of colors,
stretching the horizon
from the screaming split of mother’s thighs
to the multiplication of womanhood and one day a dark
cave of bones and ash, an urn of black and gray.
Girls, hand-hipped, with painted snarls, circling
wolves and fangs and claws and my flesh
bled red. Out of me poured
a spectrum of shades I could not catch, an array
of colors I fell dizzy into, and you suckled
the strangeness of me.
The soil of the spectrum is electric, growing,
and the hand-hipped girls are fading gray, the blunt
teeth of the wolves fall out.
I spread my fingers, wiggled naked toes in paint like blood
still pumping out of me, brushed the poppies and
the buttercups through my hair,
around my wrists. I believed the rope of alphabets,
the lists of traits, was for tying tight my ankles,
one to another,
but there is no rope, no string, no twine, only roots
and trunk, branches, stem, and petals all painted
with a prism.
That specter of a spectrum is slipping from my days. I was
handed a label like a lens, a spyglass kaleidoscope
through which I view my ways,
slowly map the markers where fire burns to mango
slices and banana trees, to the poppy stems, all skinny green,
to the sky setting on top of the sea,
ink smudges on my face and violets on the windowsill,
but there is no stillness in the spectrum. The colors move.
The colors grow.