by Molly Fisk
Recorded by author
Finally I just gave up and became an animal.
I slept when I was tired,
sometimes dropping in mid-stride,
curling into a knot on the sunny floor.
I ate raw food at odd hours,
wiped my mouth on the back of my hand,
stopped brushing my hair.
The phone rang, but I didn’t answer it.
Mail lay unopened on the stairs. Flowers
drooped in dry pots. Dust sifted down
from the ceiling in hazy swirls.
I left the windows open.
After a few weeks I grew
accustomed to it, sank deeper
into my actual body, learned to love
the hours as they passed.
I let go of the spinning
human world and walked in the hills at night
under a changing moon.
Deer swung their heads toward me.
I sat beside them in their beds of creaking grass
listening to crickets ticking in the heat.
I cooled my skin in the ocean, licked
the crusted salt from my arms.
In time, my throat forgot to speak,
it lost the bright angles of consonants,
the dark sloping vowels. It joined the chorus
of mute life with a kind of hum.
© Molly Fisk, previously published in Listening to Winter, Heyday Books/Roundhouse Press, 2000
Recorded by Karina Lutz
Molly Fisk edited California Fire & Water, A Climate Crisis Anthology, with a Poets Laureate Fellowship from the Academy of American Poets when she was Poet Laureate of Nevada County, CA. She’s won grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the California Arts Council, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Her most recent poetry collection is The More Difficult Beauty; her latest book of radio commentary is Everything But the Kitchen Skunk. Fisk lives in the Sierra foothills and can also be found at mollyfisk.com.