The gods who made me small were so much
smaller. Everyplace was their address.
The crack inside the sidewalk, the tooth
on its chain, the head of the quarter
I rubbed for luck. They made my head
a hole to hide in. They made the hole
an eye. Just ask the leaves where they tremble.
In them, this thing that is nothing. I
call them wind, and the leaves go still.
I call these days departure is infectious.
It spreads another autumn like a fire.
Just ask the things you touch: the face gone
faceless, the fingerprinted coin. In time,
the pain becomes impossible to miss.
Among the doppelgangers most relieved
to see me, I have brought you one
who is uncertain—a doll with a button
where a mouth should go, a skeptical
O that longs for the eyelet to go in.
I know, I say, these days it is hard
to connect, to trust the folks who,
you still suspect, do not, cannot, trust you.
It breaks me in half, never knowing
who it was, in childhood, I knelt to.
If sex was all he wanted. The older boy
who pushed my head down. Was I that place
a button fits the way a nail fits a hand,
a hand a cross. Am I that open question.