186: Directions To Finding You, Or Maybe Just An Inferior Prayer

186: Directions To Finding You, Or Maybe Just An Inferior Prayer

Directions To Finding You, Or Maybe Just An Inferior Prayer
by Angel Nafis

Say a butterfly had to die for you to get a gift.
There must be some kind of prayer in that.
I want to know how you feel about capture.
Say I saw it there, that dead contraption
of flight and warmth and wing on the sidewalk
and bent down to take it with my hands,
the way most humans do, when I should have used
my imagination or some other less selfish device.
(And isn’t it something that when wings
are fragile, or transparent, 
and almost not there at all, I only thought of you
and me sometimes too, but only when I am bleeding
and borrow them to write this poem.)
It was dead, but not without life.
And isn’t it something that once I put it in the envelope
and sealed it with my tongue there was no turning back
or un-tasting the vinaigrette of loving you.
I’ve seen people misplace themselves in such a heart flare-up.
Watched their temperatures drop
and I don’t know much about wilderness
but on days like these when you are harder to find
I want to learn the word seasons properly.
Feel its backside roll against my molars
so I can feel free, like when we write to summon
or when you are far away
and I collect dead things to keep you alive in me.
Say hair that traps sky and gnats, say plash, say
I could talk about the antenna or thorax
but I’ve already mentioned prayer and capture
and there’s no turning back now.
The blood will come soon again,
say swish and slow movement say
maps are irrelevant
say accidents are blessings, too, say
bellies of fish and coins
say the texture of language,
hatching, and other raw things.
Say you accept this gift as all it was ever meant to be.
Woman to search you, say sister say
this discovery of death and prism in my open fist.
I am not afraid, sister say, this calamity of sweet
and lack of coordination, and I am not afraid
of today, or an hour from now, or however long it may be
before someone captures my own dead butterfly self
off some sidewalk.
I am here now,
speaking and giving
in bursts
of chest, and effort, 
and temperature.

"Directions To Finding You, Or Maybe Just An Inferior Prayer" by Angel Nafis from BLACKGIRL MANSION by Angel Nafis, copyright © 2012 Red Beard Press. Used by permission of Red Beard Press.

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