“Tumbledown” & “In the Dream It Was Different”
by Audrey Gidman
after Tiana Clark
I gyre. I spin out & tumble, trip
over stones. I climb the mountain.
I fall back down the mountain. Carrying
a creek in my pockets. Water
in my hands. I cup. I willow. I carve
pelvis. I bowl. I belly. I crawl
on my knees. I listen still. I weep
singing. I ruby, I bloody, I fish
for garnets. Become gold.
I Tiana Clark: just water &
the sound of water. I Jack
Gilbert & the horses.
I horse & dogwood my way up
north. Magnolia. Sky. Whirl & trip
back into canyon. I slip
on rockface, knees red as jasper.
I become pine. I dazzle.
I don’t die this time. I dazzle.
In the Dream It Was Different
The night sat waiting. A departure. A rapture ringing in fractured
air. Like shrapnel. O ache and tragedy; bells spitting out prayer.
I thought I needed an economy poem. An oikos poem. A home.
A poem in which my heart is a house, a heart is a home, is a prayer.
The cards whispered broken tower, broken hips of this country
cracking like trees in a storm before the sky can light up in prayer.
Tell me: where do I put my knees to speak to this god, your god, their
god, my ancestors’ gods? I bow my head, wounds thick with prayer.
It depends on who you ask. There are too many words for hollow.
Or perhaps not enough. Some of us have so few words for prayer.
I go to the river alone. There are ghosts along the bank. They offer me
cups of water. Our fingers touch. We kneel & weep a thousand prayers.
My hands are empty. I think I understand it. The moon lighting up
the cracks in my name—all grief and pockets and winter and prayer.
Audrey Gidman is a queer poet living in Maine. Her poems can be found or are forthcoming in Rust + Moth, Luna Luna, SWWIM, Okay Donkey, The Inflectionist Review, The Shore, Rogue Agent, The West Review and elsewhere. Her chapbook, body psalms, winner of the Elyse Wolf Prize, is forthcoming from Slate Roof Press. Twitter: @audreygidman.