For a long time I wanted to drink a cup of winter, to become tipsy on early dark & longer starshine. The thinning light my favorite ether. These days I am uncertain, dead reckoning my way through— surrendering to mystery & surprise of mapless navigation. That fistful of blackbirds thrown across my wind- shield? I don’t know what their flurried wingbeats were trying to tell me; not every moment is a teacher, in the same way patience does not mean measured inaction. I’m only a woman who con- tinues to bury her dead— wearing a clenched jaw that expects diamond dust from the crown crush; shoulders that ride so high on worry, they mistake themselves for wings. I’ve never liked what I was called, even though my father named me & my name in his voice was the last word I’d hear him speak. Last night, I went to bed feeling hope- less & profoundly lonely. I left the curtains open wide. Sleep plowed a ragged field of un- even rows—but in the morning’s early darkness, the fullest moon poured its cool, bewitching light into the small bowls of my room & garden. As it hung impossibly low over the Pacific, I drank & drank.
The phrase "For a long time I wanted" is from W.S. Merwin's poem "After School."