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  • Building My Boat from Kindling
  • Aimee A. Norton

I want to hunt the whale, hunger, single-mindedly,in pursuit of his heft. I want to be obsessed, watch the daysgrow long, forget my teeth until I taste themrotting in my forgotten mouth.

Let my mind grow wild and feel the whale'simpossible form, a bulk of blinding whiteness bearing down,ever diving behind my eyelids in the momentswhen I can sleep.

But if I go to sea to hunt, who will make the childrenwear their coats? Who will cover themin the night? While I am at sea,foaming,

riding whitecaps of unlikely creation, no one will act as thatnecessary basin in which cloth is washed with water,bringing out the bright emptiness neededdaily in our world.

Hours ago, before this day roused itself from the metronomeof motion, my feet made their way blind against a path.From across unkempt fields and empty lots, I hearda donkey make its noises

against the night. I understood its inabilityto choose what sound would form when gums partedand muzzle made the joke of noiseassigned to its form. [End Page 70]

Of all the irony of nature, the creation of marsupials, the birthof animals addicted to bamboo, the winding of windsthat turn wrong in the sky, there is woman.Every morning she shows the seedshow to suck air and exhale,

how to grow straight in the sun. Oh, the lack of mercy,as one womb after another fills. The helium of dreams leaka hissing trail into the sky. But I am buildingmy boat from kindling,

breaking the crib, chopping the cupboardthat held the spices. Sticks stolen in the morningand bent at night form a hollow to carry me outbeyond the breakers. [End Page 71]

Aimee A. Norton
Stanford University


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pp. 70-71
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