I have given up meaning, order, religion, but there are still constellations:
Your cunt. Your cunt and the sun. Your cunt and the sun and your face and the table.
Your cunt and the moon and the sun and the street.
I travel these pathways again and again, Tuesday at noon and Thursday at dusk,
with a little song, a song and a jig, with laughter and sorrow.
I raise the cup to my arm raising the cup. I raise the cup to your cup
and to the cup of snow and the chalice of earth in the hand
of a crippled God who cannot raise a cup. Because he cannot,
I raise the cup to your arm raising the cup, and to the forest
of your arm showering its scents on an undeserving and hostile world.
I raise the cup to the impossibility of living—have you found it otherwise?--
and to the moral imperative of dying
and to shaving with a dull blade in the fountains of Madrid
and to the black sky that will cover us with pitchfuls of dirt
and to bouquets of frightened voices for sale in a clown’s hand
and to my baby sister awake in the night like a sculpture of milk.
I have given up meaning, but there are still constellations:
the cup and the cup and the cup and the cup
and the stars falling into a black mug that no one will drink,
and me falling into your body these hours appointed by no God
and the moon and the sun, and tomorrow, and your cunt, and today.
And not your cunt, but your face. And not the moon, but this tear.
And not the street it carves, but a life. And not a life, but a cunt
telling a story to the face of the dark. Saying: Listen, come here.
And not on Thursday, but Today. And not in the Spring, but the Summer.
Not the Summer, but the kitchen. Not in the kitchen, but the warm bread.
Not in the bread, but the fingers and the tongue.
Not in the tongue, but the song, in the elegy sung
And not the elegy, but each thing we did not know was loved.
And not love, but two bodies in Winter. And not the song, but the song.
Note: The word “testimony” comes from the Latin root testes, which meant both “testicle” and “to bear witness.” Some etymologists explain that men once bore witness, or swore, with their hand upon their testicles. “Cunt” is a Middle English word of good stock that did not become the most taboo and obscene word in the English language until the eighteenth century. It was used, for example, by Chaucer. I align myself here with feminists who believe the vulgarity of the word reflects a violence toward women, the body, and sexuality and who seek to reclaim word and thing in a spirit of praise.
Originally published in Poetry International.