TRAFFIC

                     In no love story I have ever read is a character ever tired.

                                                                                 - Roland Barthes.

 

I have a heart that dragged me down streets

verdigris and shouting, that scanned the gullies

 

for broken and withstanding shine

that grabbed upon them and hoped my body

 

would grow accustomed to dragging.

the situations that came and went

 

belong to themselves, enough glimmer to stick,

not enough to walk cleanly out into the light.

 

it happens that the plant leaning on the glass

is being overtaken quietly by cotton-like animals.

 

I can't bring myself to call it unsalvagable,

so I let it be, risking all the plants to cotton.

 

we have known since we were children

that the world is a wounded thing that cannot be said aloud.

 

I read this sentence and wonder how much I want it to be true

and how much it is. children seem to say what is wounded

 

constantly. my impulses to run continue to kiss

my impulses to see things through

 

on corners where the rain falls so slowly you watch it

in the lamplight and don't know where or when it is you are looking from.

 

I've been alone for a while now, as in just a figure of speech,

alone in the city, the neighborhood, the house, the bedroom

 

in which I am not alone, but here it is again:

I've been alone waiting to hand-carve the plate

 

that would feed the parts outside of my belly.

parts like tulips and traffic and oh, how lovely would it be

 

to arrive at the gas station and burst into song

for the woman who doesn't make eye contact

 

when she takes 99 cents for the 8 ounces of milk.

what if her face does not respond? what if wild honey

 

does not emerge from her hands?

it is too much to say such wounded things,

 

too much for the wounded things

to circulate and breathe, this is why we don't.

 

my impulses to rub against the rain will come fast

or come slowly, but they will come.

 

there are navels and umbrellas everywhere,

but I've grown tired of wanting to put my face nearby.

 

get off the side of the country you are on, hearts drag

harder there. what I like about children

 

is that who they are is how they feel in any given moment,

and yet moments change quickly, not perpetually haunted

 

by the ones before. we are not the ways we feel.

we are not details of feelings but our feelings

 

are details enough. I'll say the tulip part again: tulip.

it isn't milk that will fix me but what else could come closer.

 

my neighbor hangs his raincoat on the outside of his house.

I've not met him but I imagine him iridescently

 

brave; to step out into the rain and expect coverage

to be where he reaches for it.

 

my heart drags through my bedroom in the night

and tosses shelves to the ground, the round wounded things

 

dashing about and slipping away.

when I looked for the jacket on a thursday

 

there it was, but the rain they'd threatened had not come

and it hung in the sunlight aggressively.

 

of all the night arrivals I notice only a few.

I can't remember where or when I was

 

when I rode on the back of the motorcycle

across the bridge knowing the driver had been drinking

 

and would go too fast. but not knowing

how to say the wounded things, I drew toward danger.

 

I remember feeling smaller than usual, wearing a face

that did not feel like mine, that felt dragged.

 

I like to imagine that everyone in the city is writing beautiful things

with their thumbs, iridescent and glimmering,

 

even if not able to emerge into light.

it happens that thursdays come and go, threats of rain

 

unfulfilled, threats of sun un-sunned.

while I slept my heart took the tiniest of shelves from the wall

 

as if to say such small things should not expect

stillness, such small things come and go.

 

it happens I grow tired of not knowing where or what

my heart wants. what if I bought it a flower?

 

as the riddle goes, if it fits on a shelf but won't sit on it.

such small things can't expect to find permanence,

 

or wild honey or even habitation. I'm tired

of being caught in my own parts, in the details of feelings.

 

I want my heart to climb into bed and sleep with me.

I want to put my head beside a navel and raise an umbrella.

Tessa Micaela is a poet, student midwife, community herbalist, and quiet firecracker. Tessa is the author of there are boxes and there is wanting (Trembling Pillow Press, 2016) and the chapbook Crude Matter (ypolita press, 2016). Other writing has appeared in Make/shift, Dusie, Open House, Sink Review, and various other jars and corners. 

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