Between 7 & 9 am I did both cocaine & heroin, walked naked in front of you. Years before while we drove to the airport, I saw your hologram, a time lapse to my right, like a baby being born along a road or the progression from ape to human, bent backs straightening. But it was all you, all the same face lined up like Necco wafers in my mind. I still had an idea of you, just a few spheres in, but knew when I reached the end, it would be easy. No reason to hide, all walls dissolved. A man said he missed abandon. The coke barely made me high, maybe it hadn’t kicked in, so maybe it didn’t count that I’d leaned over without a thought a care, maybe I was still sober, maybe I didn’t need to tell anyone, 33 years is a long time, I don’t remember wanting it wanting to let go give up give myself up. When I woke I was so grateful it wasn’t real, I didn’t tell anyone. Walked to the church in the November cold dark, tripped on a chair, hit my head on a cabinet. No one cared. That wouldn’t have been pretty I said, righting myself. Asked Hillary if Top Mast had a pool, she thinks Willies has salt water–keeps calling it the Norsemen–old name she says. Unrestrained & pitiless they can hear the grass grow.
The Woven Child
Louise Bourgeois, 2002, fabric, wood, glass, and steel She’s headless, the mother all torso baby veiled in a dark blue womb below her breasts resting like a book. Her sewn-on nipples look like mine light buttons. I’d flown through air outside a glass church, tripped on the vastly uneven sidewalk, landed on one knee, palms bleeding, jeans absorb more blood. Used a railing like a rope to pull myself into the Worcester Art Museum where a girl recoiled from my bloody hands, gave me several bandaids. Caught my breath on cushioned benches, knee swelling, arm sprained, The Woven Child in a glass box. I sat beside him or her, the mother, their constant rest. The interior is a portrait too. A burial in light. The underworld used to be earth until it was mythical. Special Problems include the white of ice turning blue. Papers strewn balloon. Shoes more like slip-ons, then tight at the ankle. Someone waiting in 1971.
Kelle Groom is the author of four poetry collections: Spill, Five Kingdoms, Luckily (Anhinga Press), and Underwater City (University Press of Florida). Her poems have appeared in AGNI, American Poetry Review, Best American Poetry, The New Yorker, New York Times, Ploughshares, and Poetry. Groom’s memoir, I Wore the Ocean in the Shape of a Girl (Simon & Schuster), was a Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and New York Times Book Review “Editors’ Choice.” She is on the faculty of the low-residency MFA Program at Sierra Nevada College, Lake Tahoe, and director of education programs at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Massachusetts.