It is the title of a poem that reads like flames or waves,
or something more concrete than abstract. I stored it behind
daily tasks and other large thoughts, somewhere between the memory of my fifth birthday and that of my father swinging me on a hanging three, some summers ago underneath the Congo sun. I would have been three or maybe six. It is the sun I remember the most.
I have since learned that poetry is a stimulant that sets you off to the races like a bad driver on a French freeway. I took it, the poetry, the break-up, by nursing a glass of gin on my mother’s porch. The visit seemed necessary, given the weight of the process. Twice as heavy as the suitcase
I dragged across town. My shoulders are still tense from the trip.
It is external, my mother offered, it is felt as physically as a fat basketball
striking you in the gut, situated on the surface of the body, just above the skin. When the reddening of a person’s face changes quickly like jazz, the way toes sometimes tap in the shoe, this is entirely due to poetry, like when your lover becomes a memory and six o’clock turns to seven. I carry it on my wrist like an old watch stuck on a specific time.