crown

In every secret, Kate,
is a resounding chorus
no secret is
but those that are sung
The small, unspoken thing,
which is between the
sweetness and the phrase
destroys us
leaves us level
asunder
but I contradict secrets
I will wear you like a crown

Poem (I Can’t Speak for the Wind)

I don’t know about the cold.
I am sad without hands.
I can’t speak for the wind
which chips away at me.
When pulling a potato, I see only the blue haze.
When riding an escalator, I expect something orthopedic to
happen.
Sinking in quicksand, I’m a wild appaloosa.
I fly into a rage at the sight of a double-decker bus,
I want to eat my way through the Congo,
I’m a double-agent who tortures himself
and still will not speak.
I don’t know about the cold,
But I know what I like I like a tropical madness,
I like to shake the coconuts
and fingerprint the pythons,–
fevers which make the children dance.
I am sad without hands,
I’m very sad without sleeves or pockets.
Winter is coming to this city,
I can’t speak for the wind,
which chips away at me.

-James Tate
from Hottentot Ossuary (1974)