FINGER BONE AND COPPER RINGS
I have a whisper and a cold circle for the girls I may not have
the boys I might not be disappointed in.
When I was a small mouse with big teeth and
there was no future because time was barren,
my mother scorched everything with hard leather straps
her fingers too heavy to hold in the palm of my hands
so perhaps I will give you to the girls without parents.
The ones who stuck with the first dance and tried
while I’ve been chasing orbits fast around
these four walls that became a coffin of us.
to teach me the
spell, the pattern that
makes the world
fixed for just a
moment. Our fingers
pull this shape through the air
squares, and a nail
knitting a cat’s cradle
across our sweeping knuckles.
He lends me the numbers – alchemy –
3, 4, 5
a symbol for
the ancient way the world
is laid out.
And now his hands
have drawn a map, here
in the space where sky and earth
are a muddle;
a jagged tooth-smile
upwards, our spell a polaroid
of our grandchildren grinning into
the sun. They have the measure of us.