Jim Whiteside | Poetry

Seeing the bared teeth of one chained

to the tree, we say The animal must

be trained. But what of me?

                                                   What I found

in the body of the first lover: a lost gospel

preaching wildness. It must be broken, we say

when the animal is too much an animal,

and opening my body to his body also felt like

a breaking.

                      In those days, repair meant

sitting at the edge of the fountain

tossing coins. With each, the wish I might learn

which is greater: the lark’s extended wing,

the trees’ shifting shadows, the birds

that peck and flutter at our feet in the plaza,

the ghosts inside us, unchained, waiting.