Your desire & failing light are the same. If I could
I would make tea leaves out of you; to read.
Their amber odor sweet. Our private book.
Your slightest look easily will unclose me, cummings mused,
strolling around Paris, confabulating la bohème.
Would I read something like that? Or do lines
bitter & tingle, just like a fork’s tines?
I know how to arrange you, because memory is one huge paraphrase.
After reading you as tea leaves, I might leave.
Coming to a place unbound by your touch.
(The more you touch me, the less you will know me).
If I stay, barrels of light might begin to spill—
Food trays separate hour from hour,
or tiny bottles of liquor, or black coffee with sugar—
but even meal time makes no sense.
(We all have dinner at three am).
Now on the grey clock, I do not owe you a thing.
You cannot know if I will ever come home.
Strangers & loved ones are one & the same;
Therefore, death no longer matters.
At home, one bee dried dead into the cotton bath mat.
In response, I clean many surfaces.
Bills piled on the table do not yet exist.
Time has become its own perfect excuse.
Sleep eludes me like explanations of loss.
Limbs heavy as boat masts,
the mind row upon row of shaded arcades.
Dropping into dream, the purest gold statue.
Julia Caroline Knowlton is a Professor of French at Agnes Scott College in Atlanta, and holds M.A. and PhD degrees in French Literature. She is an MFA candidate in poetry at Antioch University in Los Angeles, where she holds a creative writing fellowship. An Academy of American Poets College Prize winner, she is the author of the memoir _Body Story_ (Ohio U. Press), which was named an outstanding title by the American Library Association.