Ghazal of Body

by Janet McAdams

for Wendy Singer

Teach me the story of the sleepless body.
Even the past is ugly, living as it does in the thick cells of my body.

I was lonely, all the long winter. Skin
the poorest fence between the cold world and my body.

The fisherman with his sharp hook, his taut line, a rod he is proud of.
Come to shore, I call, I have a handful of bread that might be your body.

Lace, you breathed against the window, and the ice let go,
ran down the glass into the house’s quiet body.

She said: When I gave him up, when I gave back the baby,
there was an empty space in front of my body.

No writ, no photograph, no stone with rules. Only memory,
running like a current of blood, through the creek of my body.