Putting Together with Light

When I can’t recognize
the taste of my own
name on the tip

of this inherited tongue.
When water terrifies
but is the only way.

When light’s brilliance
before death
takes me by the hand.

When I’ve got no place
else to go,

the rhythm of you
remains—you
big ole’ muddy river.

A Natural Hollow in the Ash

Is where she leaves
her messages. There was a to him
till there wasn’t.

She can’t write
away the ache of witnessing
a parent slowly evaporate

on life’s bark
while still being here. Only a temporary
empty, she’ll be retrieved—

dents banged out,
recycled, refilled.

Then she’ll rest in those concave
curves and remember the name
he gave her might mean Ash.

Excerpted

If I leave out day one,
I might forget

to laugh, might fade out
too young. If I skip
my namesake, the end

might never come. Couldn’t sacrifice
anything in the middle. Inside there,
I howl—humor or horror—
I howl again.