If I could make my mind blank there was a force
that tied my shoes without me, but if I thought,
I was a child caught in a net of gestures,
half-measures, admonition, false memory.
That same power could button my shirt
but only if I abandoned myself: later,
Unknowing would sail me through the hard tests,
house me, marry me, father me, delight me.
Even now I command myself, blank, blank.
But that’s cheating. I must leave the world
or be a child again, kneeling before dawn
wondering: Butterfly? Rolling hitch? Reverse?
while the car honks twice in the rainy street.
D. Nurkse's most recent book is A Night in Brooklyn.