That was the summer I fell asleep in German
and woke up in French. I lay down on the earth,
stared up through a three-dimensional labyrinth
of dark branches stretching toward sky.
Curves are so much more caressing than
straight lines, n’est-ce pas? Who has time
to look at parabolas? Could I express only
a parade of diversionary questions? Nein, nein,
the German inside demanded, Gib mir Antworten!
I went to a party and tried only to ask questions
and answer none. I was a spy, intimidating
to at least two persons. Questions are curves,
without closure. Could one spend a whole evening
on a stroll through someone else’s mind? How
refreshing to encounter unfamiliar corridors.
No one is throwing up skeet and asking me
to shoot. The parade massed and snapped
to attention, goose-stepped away. Replaced by
tendrils, drifting pine needles. When I awoke, I was
la belle étrangère, omnipotent in my voluptuous
listening. I could coax even the waves to speak.
from Aqua Curves (copyright 2005),
first published in the journal Rattle
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