African-American Culture · African-American Literature · Classic · Collection · Contemporary · Poetry

Tracy K. Smith

When Your Small Form Tumbled into Me

I lay sprawled like a big-game rug across the bed:
Belly down, legs wishbone-wide. It was winter.
Workaday. Your father swung his feet to the floor.
The kids upstairs dragged something back and forth
On shrieking wheels. I was empty, blown-through
By whatever swells, swirling, and then breaks
Night after night upon that room. You must have watched
For what felt like forever, wanting to be
What we passed back and forth between us like fire.
Wanting weight, desiring desire, dying
To descend into flesh, fault, the brief ecstasy of being.
From what dream of world did you wriggle free?
What soared — and what grieved — when you aimed your will
At the yes of my body alive like that on the sheets?

Tracy K. Smith, Life on Mars. (Graywolf Press May 10, 2011)

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