On the Levee Once Again I Walk to Sharpen

my body to a blade. Weapon for nothing. Recall my first diet,
66 pounds, my proud refusal of a fist-sized milk carton.

My mother’s sister at 40, spooning Gerber peaches
into her mouth at the family table. Recall the game

my mother taught me when I was a teenager—
—find someone on the street who has my body—

Now without her how I will sharpen. Will be
vapor. Smoke. Furious at the world for nothing.

Rushing down the year’s dark corridor, street unspooling
every morning, tracking miles.

How I craved my mother’s judgement. Be vapor. Be smoke.
Be blade. Remember how it feels to desire

nothing, not even touch’s static. Remember why
emptiness still comforts like nothing else.

I will shrink myself down to where I don’t matter.
Thumbelina, tight and safe in a walnut shell.

Yet grief thickens everything. Even the imprint of my body.

Who’s keeping count.