SELF PORTRAIT AS DHRISHTADYUMNA, REMEMBERING
I’m a bad arrow, a good ghost.
All intent, no motion, no direction.
The target’s wet red mouth leers
before me, behind it a stand of trees
that long to kill me. See how they lean.
My mother’s hands wound me
into the right shape for spinning,
cut my point with her own brown teeth.
I want to move. I want to die.
An arrow that won’t fly is condemned
to haunt the bow. Mother I don’t blame
your hold; I’m the one who can’t let go.
Our shapes, so different,
our substance the same. Mother
I work so hard at all the wrong things,
I labor for no fruits, bad wood with
nothing growing. What am I good for?
What am I—? Good is all I’ve ever wanted
for you, and all I gave you was this rot.
You kill the tree in hopes of a good arrow,
straight flight, strong cut, and yet
always the wood fails on you.
The death hangs on. Infects the new
purpose. I remember too much
of what I was, I wish for too much
to be good anymore. Goodness.
What is it all for?