Featured in Colorado Review
If You Are a Hunter of FossilsFeatured, Poetry
Published Fall 2014
Around a bend, and light that erases
such failure. As a kid, in a desert
full of fragile soils and beauty buckled
and spired, full of hoodoo-tent-rock, space
that could have drowned us.
And the lakes cast pink, dowsing
for the ley lines in blueberry
bush and frost dune and there’s something
I want to tell you about the intervening
hunt and divine. It wasn’t all Peace be with you
and then the wheels fell off,
not all duck duck and then
there’s a bang and the goose is another
slow learner, stoic in soft blonde
moccasins. Flannel here, linen there, a little bit of tulle tutu
magic tossed in for the ballerina dream,
which no one originally believes
is a danger. I could crouch and crouch
within the invisible and never, ever
disappear. Which isn’t what anyone wanted
but me, pinky swear. But then there’s a rush
and no one dreams the seam of a self
could be blown at birth and a child
would emerge and always wonder.
All the long way to saying, it’s a secret,
the deluge and the compendium
shaped like a narrative but fighting
with a small child who just wants to know
was I touched? And has all of this long
division into cells and ventricles
and fear of bodies a way of saying:
surprise. Yes. You had a good healer mother who never
unsheathed the right knife on the right
man, or at least never knew to. What
can we trust of our memories?
Never ever that they quietly pull
paint across the shutters and fade
baked in the sun. But that they travel
and gambol like passengers
in a storybook, beloved and fantastic,
wrought hot and bent new.
I’m in my girl body now, foraging around
and no one knows the answer
but me, me, call on me, if I ever learn to love.
If I ever figured out a thing about love,
it was from disease mind and the way it enters
the currents of a child through eyes
that she doesn’t want looking, hands
that she doesn’t want near.
I’ve run out of ways
to bubble around it. If you are a hunter
of fossils, then I’m in charge
of celebrations, and promise me, promise it,
I’ll even peel off my sparkling nets for you,
because if we can’t celebrate
everything that came after,
I will fold and undevote
and also with you
it will be the way I die.
Molly Damm earned her MFA from the University of Virginia, where she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow in Poetry. She lives and teaches in Northern California.