Metaphors

We could say the planet is a head,
Its nose the Atlantic,
The corners of its mouth
The tips of puzzled continents,
Its eyes the U.S. and Middle East,
If eyes were power,
If power were crude.
But darlings, the globe is no head.

What metaphor are we,
With 15 billion eyes and ears,
Wombs doubling life
Into gloved and unwashed hands,
Spilling what’s left
Into blind hospital buckets,
Deaf dirt floors.
What metaphor?

Perhaps instead the earth
Is a metaphor for us—
Ancient, once whole,
Always drifting,
A war of currents,
Frozen in our furthest reaches.
I would give up this globe
If I could.

When I wake up,
My eyes are no seas,
My voice is no America,
My skin is no Scotland,
My womb is no Switzerland,
My heart is no Ireland,
My hands are no Germany,
My name is no Wales.

Poems cannot hold me.
I am content to stand—
Unsure of land and words—
And walk across the room to you
Who are no Africa, no Omaha, no Mississippi,
But space wrapped in a man.
They’ll say you are a metaphor for me;
I am a metaphor for you.

2013

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