strolling along the hippocampus street bridge

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strolling along the hippocampus street bridge

i was born

with my hand hanging

out an open window,

tulips and azaleas sprouting

from my nostrils. pheasants

rose from the boiling water

to break their pots and fly

again, wings singed with the heat

of miscalculated intentions.

 

i grew up

and grew strong

in a cage without bars.

 

i lived

swimming

in the zookeeper’s irises.

 

one day i awoke

my shirt stretched

away from my neck

as if someone had tugged

my collar, the way sometimes

the muse apprehends you,

and when you measure yourself

with the elastic tape,

you are smaller, as if scooped

from a pint of strawberry sherbet,

a pebble from a cliff,

testament to something once whole.

 

the sound of ray charles

crawls over from a distant room.

sunlight lifts your tilted blinds.

your arm is bruised, and numbness

pinches your calf muscles, heart plodding

with threadbare sneakers. it throbs,

but you are here.

 

the moon is an old woman

with welcoming eyes. she

smiles with seeming sincerity.

night, night, endless night

stretching across the tent of the world.

 

what a pleasure it is

to sleep here beneath the shade

of long-limbed trees with the flies

in the tranquil heat after an august rain.

 

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