day 15: re/in(carnation)

“People don’t become what they were brought up to be, people become themselves.”
Sarah Schulman

You walk into a room and swallow as many cellular structures as you can. You ask yourself: was this table, etched with unclear floral arrangements, ever someone with limbs? 

Furthermore, you wonder: how much of what we once were parts of what we are right now.

You have begun to romanticize reincarnation as though it were a new love interest. You bat your eyes toward flashes of memory. You are unclear if these are your theatrical trailers of lives once lived, or just scattered bits of movies and conversations you’ve devoured on lonely nights.

When do you officially become?

You were brought up to leave your elbows behind when eating at the table. Back erect and hair untouched while food fondled your lips. You were brought up never to cuss or complain. You were taught homosexuality was a sin, so you left yourself behind for two decades. You were told to keep your hair long in order to be approachable. You were trained to walk away from who you felt you were.

Or are we perpetually becoming?

You decide humans are always humans and do not reincarnate into inanimate objects like stones or light bulbs, but trees and water are a grey area, since they move.

So, you may have been drops of water in that lake you swam in upstate this summer. And you may have been splinters stuck inside the tree you straddle in the summertime during moments of mourning. And you might have been a slice of paper in a notebook that someone somewhere wrote poems in once.

Perhaps we are in constant modes of arrival.

Perhaps we never arrive, instead we transform into various shapes and sounds; there is no stopping point; there is no complete. There is just being.

pack tiny stones in[to] precarious burst of my.

take my right arm/where it was blown off/and set it in your sleeve”   –Meena Alexander

pass by the one wearing shoulders. threaten sleep by clinging eyes closed. i am curds, poached over rocky mountains. i am daniel, too distressed for a middle. i saw married and skinny. i ate october and not-quite 2am. if there is another, call me stone. place me near western waters in canada. even fingernails have a difficult time with closure: they keep extending until. mud casts a supporting role in this. and there is a walk-on cameo by analogous joints that used to bend inward. most of the time, these are poems. and so it is. some of the time, they are love letters to the ones I stutter against. there was that one time, it was a declaration of itch and bother. where is the carnage of your tongue after it windmilled beneath mine. just just just look past the mold and yellow lists spine’d on plastic shelf and remember that even in death, we are [all] just trying to catalogue the caskets build into our bodies.