I am starting to forget
the tornado that took
my neighbor’s life as he
watched TV in the silver
Airstream: a marvel of
folding, bench into table,
chair into bed. Double-
wide tin is not for sleeping.
Neither is a home for
making miniatures in leaves.
The funnel dropped my
tree house, a perfect imitation
of my family’s white saltbox
with shutters, on the car port,
Mother stepping on the dollhouse—
an accident, the setting room
slicing her heel to the bone.
Blood on the baby wallpaper.
Maple armoire in her toes.
I thought it was still livable.
I thought to trim the cowslip
from shingles, invite the splinters
with a watch word, curl on
the pitch and ruptured pine.
All this brings me to love.
I set to sweeping, slept outside
amid the quivering cecily,
comforted by snakes come out
of the ground. Listen to the odd
world, escaping elephant, angle-
earred cat. Go always in the direction
of the departing zoo. I tell you
this to save you. I mean to save
us both. If you do not mind
that I climbed into the wreckage.
If you do not mind I set the stump
for dolls and tea. I was a child;
I thought the acorn seeping in
the china was an acorn. No
fence rattle, train moan, butterfly
blown backward in wind-spur
would warn me. Otherwise, a cloud
like a chiffon sleeve. If you do not
mind my early errors. I have learned
to read the leaves, hold the water
in my mouth and call the future,
sifting flecks. I was born inside
your flower. Oh lover. Oh river.
I bring the message in my teeth.
If the earth says move, I will
swim to you through miles.