You said abundance would not harm me,
but none of your songs could stop
the god-awful fullness of the moon.
Even the plague ended in feast,
birds chirping fat and happy
in their nests. I tried other oceans,
climbed a volcano to look inside
the earth, walked to the edge
of the sinkhole that swallowed a city.
My freedom only made me more afraid.
I’m not sure there is any world
but this one, and the mango’s sweetness
is terrible to me. Some days the fire is a mirror.
Some days I can bear the stillness of elk
when I surprise them in the alder.
Yesterday I cleaned bones out of the boat
and met a child on the shore. He made a gun
out of his hand. No one taught him this.
He raised his arm, fingers leveled
at my heart. You said I could contain it,
this gift. The boy told me I could keep
the boat. The bones were his.
Traci Brimhall, “envoi”