by Leah Umansky
Because I know everything becomes okay
When you start grouping your worries.
All the wonder would come crawling back to me. It would
Know me, as the small of my babbling would know me, just as
My slow-building fears now know me. I call to each of them, one by one.
I call to their forbidding. I call to their imagining. I call to their
Stabbing of days. It would be good to be engulfed in something.
To be over the top and blinded. To be sensational, air-lifted,
Blossom-faced and grinning. Maybe the story has always been
Out of reach. Maybe the reaching has always been unconscious
And that dangerous dangle, that expectation, that perilous sought-after
Is in my search. Maybe I have failed in the catch.
I have fled without a steal. I am fleeing now. The translation
Of my bite is a stretch too far. All these moments
Remain alive. The chase merges. The unlucky foul
Goes off in the distance, but I celebrate my field. I know the ranges
Of my limits. I know the devoted readers of my mind. Still,
What of these accusations I make from these barricades. Still,
Cupid, I’d invite the shooting. I raise up my shirt high.
I throw my head back to the blaze. I’d keep my breath fluid. I’d
Channel my song. I’d follow the path of the most light-hearted.
I’d consider it an impact unknown. I’d take that arrow
Beneath the heart of me, along the heart
Of me, and through the breaking of my skin.
It would be a point to enter. It would be a labor. Wait,
I mean to say a laboring.
This laboring would be beautiful.
Love, would be beautiful. I know I will know when the knowing
Is mine to know. It will be outside of these poems.
I know this to be true.
It will be a tribute to love.
I would harvest that arrow.
I would tend to it, like a growing riot.
I would pool the crowds.
I would feed the famished.
I would enchant the lovelorn.
I would hold the mistreated.
I would call out from the barricades.
But I’d anoint that puncture.
I’d set flowers at that puncture.
I’d comfort it in birdsong and greens.
I’d set a vigil there, below my ribs.
Leah Umansky is the author of The Barbarous Century forthcoming in 2018 from London’s Eyewear Publishing, Domestic Uncertainties, among others. She earned her MFA at Sarah Lawrence College and is the curator and host of The COUPLET Reading Series in New York City. Her poems have appeared or are forthcoming in such places as POETRY, Salamander, Pleiades, and Plume. Some of her Game of Thrones inspired poems have been translated into Norwegian and Bengali. More at: www.LeahUmansky.com.