The grass is short and grey and there are bald spots
everywhere. It trembles in my breath.
My arms tremble in Chaturanga—still, after twenty-two years of sun
salutations, each day three times I bow to kiss
the ground. Twenty-two times three-hundred-and-sixty-five times three is a lot
of trembling with the ground. But today is a first: I see it.
A small saint in maroon spoke softly, not like shy people do
but like the old who know it’s no use to speak this much
and that those who want to hear, will.
He drank tea. He breathed
with an orchid and showed how the flower is made of non-flower
elements—the flower is cloud, the cloud is ocean, the ocean is bone,
the bone is stardust.
On the third day our masks had dropped
like Saoudi gas prices. All that was left:
sagging jawlines, no more quarreling with gravity,
and the sound of human footsteps.
For forty-eight seconds I stopped wondering where I stood on the scale of adequacy.
For twenty-one seconds I stopped judging my neighbor.
For eight-point-five seconds I was only one
When we don’t make ourselves smile
the first thing that happens is rain. Sad as a Scottish summer.
I raised my head from tepid oatmeal and a man was
looking at me—not like a man looks at a woman
but like one who knows only to speak when what he has to say is more beautiful
I did not remember not being a woman. I remembered
being a girl, and that was worse, that was meat.
I remembered wanting to be a boy, or at least to wear the scabs on my knees
with pride. But I did not remember
this: not being gendered. It made me
rain. In sheets, like in old Noir movies.
A Scottish summer of tears over forty years telling myself I was one thing
when all along I had been