Breath
They told me when I awoke to this body
     each breath will taste my blood
with the tongue of every creature
          who has lived,
     and I said yes.
And the air I breathe will be torn by rocks
          abraded by fans
     and bruised in the factories
of steel, and I said yes.

And they said the ants have a right
     to this breath as much as I,
          and it erases their paths as they walk
               and as easily,
it erases mine.
They said my breath will read me from inside
     with its licking torch
          as if I were a cave,
and I said yes.

And the air will carry the breathless
     patience of stone and the seething heat
of asphalt and scatter me
from the memories
     as flickeringly as footsteps,
and I said yes,
     and the air will stir the wet of my body
          in the ocean of bodies, and in
               shared bodies of hives and cities,
          and in the poisons,
and I said yes,

I will breathe air that has passed
          through the nail holes punched by children
               into jar lids
          to save the lives
               of fireflies, and I say yes.
I will breathe the force which blows wind rows
     in snow, and rubs waves in the sand,
          and strips topsoil from farmlands
     and makes the cypress
          cringe from the sea.

Though it is sour with dreams and loud
     with sickness it will run beside my heart
          like a young girl beside a horse,
it will forgive my legs for running,
              and chase my mind away
from its fear, and I say yes,
     I will blow into whirlwinds
          in the breath of my lover,
               and into sea storms I will fly to be healed,

and to the vastness inside clouds I will go
     for rest, and I will wash out my tears
          with the mist blown from whitecaps,
and disperse my venom in daggers of sunlight,
          and I say yes,
I will torture my vision through
     with the everlasting scanning of sea birds, yes,
          I will breathe each layer from the horizon,
              and hush my thoughts in
          the deepest airs of caves,

and ripple the cold, slow, sunken rivers, like sleep,
     and whistle through blowholes hidden in thickets
          linking the underground to the sky.
I will whisper through the perforated
          coinage of sewer lids,
I will lie down in hot valleys
     with the breath of vegetables,
          and I will say yes.
I will breathe a clear cloud of silk around my heart,
     and wear a frayed scarf of fire,

I will breathe what determines the path
          of falling feathers,
     and boil the snow from the seared summits
          of mountains.
I will stay trapped a thousand years
          in a tomb until a mouse will free me.
     I will blow a cloud on the final mirror
          of the dying, before the cistern
of silence cracks, and I will make a quick slate
     for fingers shouting behind cold glass,
saying yes.