When the bones of my arm were emptied I began
to hover, a man becoming his own kite.
Along the street I flew my arm above myself,
reached toward stars if night and stars
if day. I can imagine it appeared
that my arm was trying to pull me
free of something, something like drowning
but there was no water. I was trying
to say there are no secrets left.
I could have said, there are no secrets left,
but the idea of removing one bone at a time
and emptying it and putting it back
felt like a crime, a kind of burglary,
and breaking and entering would make
the point that we have no privacy
better than saying we have no privacy.
Every night a new bone and every night
I kissed the things I removed, an estuary
from my hips, violin from my clavicle,
all of which I hammered and bulldozed
until it fit under my tongue
so cameras couldn’t point the guns
of their eyes and computers couldn’t listen
to the words of my fingers and if secrets
can’t be secretly shared, flesh
is prison. Slowly I floated more,
floated better in that region
between ground and ghosts. I could see
the feet of the dead above me,
the commencement of night below.
The trick was to know when to stop, which
part of me I had to keep to keep
from disappearing, what the difference was
between refusal and suicide, between yes
and no. I’d like to believe there’s something
we have for each other that has nothing
to do with what we can give, the small
and rare gravity that surrounds each head,
the first muscle we choose to touch
when rubbing a back. Who invented
that, how you are unlike me? I don’t need
all the details of your crotch
to feel safe. But I must remain here
to live, and if whispering is required
it is better to shout. I settled
for one inch above the pavement, for the chance
to think of myself as a small balloon
in a small parade. The way it’s going,
the only way to live on this planet
will be to leave it. How silly.
Let them take all the notes they want.
I’m here to correct the mistakes in the file
I’ll never be shown. For instance,
these are not subversive thoughts
but the taste of my marrow and the most
dangerous words are the ones we never hear.