"You want the truth? Disaster."

— Rhina P. Espaillat


Whatever is, harbors its own unease.
The spring aches, and the taut line sags to the ground.
Green leaves pull skyward, blind roots hunger down
To dark necessities.

Even stirs restless and explodes to odd;
Odd strains for symmetry, limps home to even.
In the light-spangled solitude of heaven
God reels away from God.

And in the heart, born single ad a kiss,
Broods the sad other-yearner, learner, dier-
That knows, uncomforted, its one desire
Was not for this.

Rhina Espaillat

How It Begins

Somebody’s blade fingers your chest,

out for the bird in its warm nest

rocked in those tides that come and go.

Somebody’s thumb is on the flow

memory ride through secret places

to find the doors, to name the faces.

Somebody’s picking body’s lock,

tapping the glass, hefting a rock,

leaping the gate, cutting the wire

that fuses motion to desire.

What if this once nobody’s there?

Somebody’s step is on the stair.

Rhina Espaillat