Ruth Madievsky

Now I am wishing I was a fire pole
or a rope you could pull yourself out of a well with,
I wish I was fog over the lakes of your hands,
a kitchen with no knives.
I’ve been thinking about the space a body needs
to move in, how it’s getting harder to tell
who owns property in my brain
versus who is just renting. There’s this noise I make
when I want to empathize
but don’t know how, kind of like, badabada,
which will probably be my last word
if I am ever hit by a minivan
because it’s also the noise I make
when I feel as though I’ve been injected
with a neuromuscular block.
Sometimes I identify more strongly
with the rocks tumbling down the canyon
I pass on the way to your house
than I do with the person I am sharing
a bowl of soup with. That’s normal, right?
We all have only a so-so understanding
of what the nail sees inside our wall, right?
Inside of me is every person I ever was
but not every person I will become
because the doors only open
in one direction. So I am trying to overcome
my fear of empty space,
of becoming the emptiness that makes a jar
a jar and not a statue. I am trying
not to be a plane crash with no survivors,
which is difficult, because I don’t want to be a plane
full of passengers either. I don’t want my body
to be a place of violent transience
or of transient violence,
but one of those things has happened already
and the other is happening
with the slow confidence of a stethoscope.
But let’s put a pin in that
for now. Let’s put a pin in all the things
that make me feel like a pile of bones
in a miniskirt, that make me forget
the glory of washing a body
that isn’t mine,
the twin celebrations of your hands,
and how, yes, I am a city of vacant apartments,
but there is nothing more holy
than the sound of one body
opening the door of another.