The Palace of Contemplating Departure
You wandered through my life like a backwards wish
when I was ready for deliverance.
I was ready for release
like a pinball in God’s mouth
like charanga on Tuesdays
like the summer in Shanghai
when we prayed for a rainstorm
and bartered our shame, then we tore open oranges
with four dirty thumbs.
And the forecast said Super
so we chartered a yacht
and we planted a garden on the unbending prow
but the sea said Surrender
with its arms full of salt, and wind shook the seeds
from our shirt coat pockets
so when we washed up on the shoreline of sunlight
near the city of wind
we were broken and thin, like wraiths at a wake.
But you tilted your head up and told me I was wild
so I lifted my life
and I lifted your life
and we wandered through the gate of radiant days
then we married our splendor
in the hall of bright rule.
And I thank you again: you gave madness a chance
and you lassoed the morning
and we met on a Tuesday
in a dance hall in Shanghai
and I left you in a leap year for the coveted shoreline
and you wept like a book when it’s pulled from a well.
But you were the one who told me I was wild
and you were the one who wrestled the angel
and I knew when I left you
that courage was a choice
and memory, a spear,
and the X of destination is etched on my iris
and shifts with the seasons—
don’t think of the phoenix, think of the mountain.
But where will I go now with my tireless wonder?
And when will I again be brave like that?