And Now I Am Old, and Sad, and Prepared for Whatever Average Fortune Throws My Way

Head-sick, I bowed. And when I bowed the soul
quieted. The inland fires dimmed. Each time
I went low its awful pain retracted briefly. So I went.
Low, and then lower still. I believed I was a dancer,
bending ever downward just for it. The soul
remembers all of this. How I swept the floor
with my golden hair. How I fed it watermelon and
wine from a porcelain dish. How I called it “teacher”
and it called me “teacher’s pet.” I was so sick.
And yet its substance remained intact. It was so kind
to me. It sucked nectars from the raw air into
a tiny straw, and held that very straw up to my lips.
It was so brilliant, and compact. It rode me and I
rode it, as if for sport—a stricken magic we together
made from the intricate contents of my horror.
But then one day I woke up and the world had returned—
children walking to school beneath gargantuan
backpacks containing easy homework and deli meat
sandwiches. And beyond them, in the sunflower fields,
just darkened circles where the fires had been.