Return to the Cities

By AILEEN KEOWN VAUX

Into the wilderness I walked toward a ledge forgetting
that lip is another word for the human mouth,
and that edge is close to coming but stopped short.
When I melted the last of my consciousness
down to the wick I sat on the ground to gather wool
sheared from some dead sheep. Let’s count:
last night you welcomed me back home,
into your body, into civilization.
In the woods I discovered if I sit alone,
producing nothing but the breath,
I am worthy of this return.
Care to hold my face again,
with one steady hand,
while another gets her fill?
In the wilderness I splintered into a mirror
until nothing mattered, an atomic downshift,
like the summer I learned to drive stick.
What matters is that time spears space
like a toothpick through a club sandwich:
each strata held together by filaments
thin enough to be mistaken for choice.
What choice did I have when you said,
Please? Come home to me.