He was spectacularly guilty
Of thought a right mess even in a body
Of water of endless messes he would
Sink to the bottom when he tried to
Walk on the stilted tension surface
Of a conversation that was laid out
Before him. He was the excavation
Of not knowing what to do, a dense
Field of lavender out of season gone
Woody, not fully understanding the
Concept of ownership and what opinion
To have next. How to jump forward
Into the crash of the next pull on
The rope. He was made smaller
By the corset of his own mind’s ideas
Every day stooping and pausing to
Consider the safety of each choice
A man among princes, never there
To see the canyon mountain through
The trees. A bit of greenery, a chicken
Wire cage before him. The new season
Of happiness and growth spurts just happening
The spirit not worthy, his mind
A rushing full of doubt and he was
All along, standing in place, the doorway
On either side, oh, only to be
A few inches out of reach
What he would not give for that.

Millicent Borges Accardi, a Portuguese-American writer, is the author of four poetry books, most recently Only More So (Salmon) and the forthcoming Through a Grainy Landscape (nominated for a PEN award).  Her fellowships  include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Fulbright, CantoMundo, Creative Capacity, the California Arts Council, Yaddo, Fundação Luso-Americana, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (Covid grant), and Barbara Deming Foundation, "Money for Women."