I’m trying to tell you that the world is beautiful. All the
hellos we say in a week, or month, the way the grooves
of the grin know what to do. Think about the first time
man went from four legs, hairy knuckles folded over, to two.
The moment the spine realized it could brace against its
cage. That the bones wouldn’t splinter and spark. The
sound that escaped. From that height, where did his eyes
look first? I bet he wondered about who feeds the sun.
Who can stand next to him. I’m trying to tell you something
about the universe. If you connect each lake and ocean with
a pencil, they mirror constellations. The barking stars are
like dimes. They know about the tenderness of orcas, as if
their size were made to contain opposites, like we contain
opposites. They know that the surf never takes everything,
a body always documents where it’s been down to the horse-
shoe crab. I’m trying to tell you that it’s okay to curse God
a little. That your mother keeps giving you plants that you
overwater or underwhelm. To crest burden over joy, fire
over water, ’cause hurt can get so loud sometimes. I’m trying
to tell you that history doesn’t begin with language, with words
on top of words. The latest dating app has welders and
endangered blacksmiths, I like that they enter every space
with their craggy hands.
Cynthia Manick, a poet and storyteller, is the author of the poetry collection Blue Hallelujahs (Black Lawrence Press, 2016). A recipient of fellowships from Cave Canem, Hedgebrook, and the MacDowell Colony, she received honorable mention in the 2019 Furious Flower Poetry Prize and won the Lascaux Prize in Collected Poetry. She lives in Brooklyn. (updated 4/2020)