After a Year of Forgetting

Now I will learn how to tie an apron and unclasp
my bra from behind. I will become hard,
like a moss-covered rock. I’ll be stiff as a nightgown

dried on the line. When the pond freezes over, I’ll walk
to its center and lie face up until it is May
and I am floating. I’ll become an anchor
pitched skyward. I will steer chiseled ships,

spinning fortune’s splintered wheel. I will worry
over damp stones. I will clean ash
from the Madonna’s cheek using the wet

rag of my tongue. I’ll make myself shrine-like
and porcelain; I will stand still as a broken clock.
I will be sore from lovemaking. I will become so large,
my hair, loosened, will be mistaken for the swallow’s cave.

After June, there is a year of forgetting, after the forgetting,
antlers adorn the parlor walls. Then it snows, and I’ll be
coarse. I’ll be soft as my mother’s teeth. I’ll be sugar crystals

and feathery snow. I’ll be fine. I will melt.
I will make children from office paper. They’ll be cut
from my stomach wearing blank faces. Bald
and silent, they will come out of me: triplicates

holding hands. I will smooth their foreheads
with a cool iron. I will fold the tepid laundry, turn down
the sheets, then sleepwalk along the Mississippi
until it is ocean and I’m its muddy saint. I will baptize
myself in silt and December. I will become
a pungent, earthly bulb. I’ll pillar to salt. I’ll remember
the pain of childbirth, remember being born.

Ama Codjoe