haibun in which you imagine yourself as a celestial object
This life is itchy; tight corsets and terse conversations with bearded men who laugh at lady luminaries and yet are enamored by your hunger to know. They think your letters are darling because of your button nose and pretty little passion that swells larger than their kitchen-sized imaginations allow for. And so they write you back, tearing apart your viewpoints like they are warm chicken thighs. Thank goodness your womanly wiles are good for something, they quip between bites. Maybe you’ll be a footnote in the revolutionary textbooks.
You often wonder, wandering around in the gloaming-time garden. You pace like sober morning isn’t coming (like a man, your husband says). Your mind likes to build beyonds in which you and he walk together. In these worlds, if he is the man you married, you two stroll and do not talk. When you return to your home, he eases you into bed. To the guiding rhythm of your slowing breaths, he writes about things with depth. He records the stillness of water and wife and life after dark. Even in your sleep, you ascend to take your place among the glowing notables.
If he is not the man you married, then he is a stranger you know by name. You discuss recent jailings or perhaps the way the moon looks like a full, floating curious eye. She’s dying to know everything through touch. You’d like very much to write her into history through poetry. Anything to keep her from being devoured into nothingness.
Can you do that? Is it possible to write something that glided and watched and lingered and wished to be nearer right out of existence in the first place? Your husband’s friends must think so. You will never understand why they characterize the man in the moon as a man. Why even the stars would betray the moon for acknowledgment by the sun. When you return and tuck yourself into your bed, your husband is writing about the stillness of the economy (he only composes tearful tombeaux to dead things outside of this household). You tuck your solutions under your pillow. They flatten out easier than when you first married him.
You dream of beyonds: Your husband is someone else Moon walks earth, a woman.
Yasmine Bolden is a Black American poet and author. Her work has been recognized by the Scholastic Writing Awards and National Beta Club Poetry Competition. At heart, she’s still the little girl who talked her way into getting more than the five book limit from her elementary school library. Twitter: @blkpunningpoet; Instagram @blackpunningpoet; Website: bit.ly/blackpunningpoet.