I no longer believe in Tierra del Fuego.
We’ll probably never arrive. Already I’m gray
as granite, and know well how to lower my head,
how to lock my tongue with my teeth. I will
need four legs and sharp hooves now. I will need
a long, strong spine and the ability to trudge.
The snow falls thick and will cover my fetlocks
but how else can I carry all your provisions
over the Hindu Kush? A crevasse is a crack
as deep as woe. To divide the genders, we use
a slash. And if late in your wanderings you come
to my barrow, ask yourself, is she in there, does
she wait for me? Yes, yes, I am no longer a beast.
Roll away the boulder blocking the doorway.
You may hear small shrieks, difficult to decode:
God hasn’t given us the punctuation.
I’ll be wrapped in a cloak of needles, but look closely,
I beg you. In my want, I resemble any other ghost.
Marsha de la O’s upcoming book, Every Ravening Thing, from Pitt Poetry Series is due out in Spring 2019. Her previous book, Antidote for Night, won the 2015 Isabella Gardner Award and was published by BOA Editions. Her first book, Black Hope, was awarded the New Issues Press Poetry Prize. She has published extensively in journals, including recent poems in The New Yorker and Kenyon Review.