In thrice 10,000 seasons, I will come back to this world In a white cotton dress. Kingdom of After My Own Heart. Kingdom of Fragile. Kingdom of Dwarves. When I come home, Teacups will quiver in their Dresden saucers, pentatonic chimes Will move in wind. A covey of alley cats will swarm on the side Porch & perch there, portents with quickened heartbeats You will feel against your ankles as you pass through. After the first millenium, we were supposed to die out. You had your face pressed up against the coarse dyed velvet Of the curtain, always looking out for your own transmigration: What colors you would wear, what cut of jewel, What kind of pageantry, if your legs would be tied Down, if there would be wandering tribes of minstrels Following with woodwinds in your wake. This work of mine, the kind of work which takes no arms to do, Is least noble of all. It's peopled by Wizards, the Forlorn, The Awkward, the Blinkers, the Spoon-Fingered, Agnostic Lispers, Stutterers of Prayer, the Flatulent, the Closet Weepers, The Charlatans. I am one of those. In January, the month the owls Nest in, I am a witness & a small thing altogether. The Kingdom Of Ingratitude. Kingdom of Lies. Kingdom of How Dare I. I go on dropping words like little pink fish eggs, unawares, slightly Illiterate, often on the mark. Waiting for the clear whoosh Of fluid to descend & cover them. A train like a silver Russian love pill for the sick at heart passes by My bedroom window in the night at the speed of mirage. In the next millenium, I will be middle aged. I do not do well In the marrow of things. Kingdom of Trick. Kingdom of Drug. In a lung-shaped suburb of Virginia, my sister will be childless Inside the ice storm, forcing the narcissus. We will send Each other valentines. The radio blowing out Vaughan Williams on the highway's purple moor. At nine o'clock, we will put away our sewing to speak Of lofty things while, in the pantry, little plants will nudge Their frail tips toward the light we made last century. When I come home, the dwarves will be long In their shadows & promiscuous. The alley cats will sneak Inside, curl about the legs of furniture, close the skins Inside their eyelids, sleep. Orchids will be intercrossed & sturdy. The sun will go down as I sit, thin armed, small breasted In my cotton dress, poked with eyelet stitches, a little lace, In the queer light left when a room snuffs out. I draw a bath, enter the water as a god enters water: Fertile, knowing, kind, surrounded by glass objects Which could break easily if mishandled or ill-touched. Everyone knows an unworshipped woman will betray you. There is always that promise, I like that. Kingdom of Kinesis. Kingdom of Benevolent. I will betray as a god betrays, With tenderheartedness. I've got this mystic streak in me.
From A Hunger by Lucie Brock-Broido, published by Alfred A. Knopf. Copyright © 1988 by Lucie Brock-Broido. Reprinted by permission of the publisher and author. All rights reserved.