I always asked questions of the poem,
sometimes even glimpsed an answer
flying off to nurse its broken wing.
Certainty lived between folds of skin:
bright light, or shadow deep
as a black hole in a distant universe.
I measured distance in layers of color
applied with a heavy brush,
held escape in a tight fist.
But in this, my ninth decade, I choke
on those questions: warm milk
promising what it cannot deliver.
Place is change, cold monuments
stand where love once promised
to conquer all.
Entitlement begs to borrow a harness
made of melting ice
tethered to this broken dawn.
My map dissolves beneath storm clouds
as I run between canyon walls
pressing against my wanting.
Each image struggles to find its way
across a quartered landscape
of memory unbound.
Today’s questions boomerang,
mock my practiced attempts
to pin them to conviction.
Uncertainty moves through my arteries
calling my name in the minor key
of ancestral catch and release.
But not that uncertainty. Not that one.
Some truths never die:
in step, as they are, with desire.
Margaret Randall is a poet, essayist, translator and performer living in New Mexico. Her most recent poetry collection is Starfish on a Beach: Pandemic Poems, and her memoir, I Never Left Home: Poet, Feminist, Revolutionary was released by Duke University Press in March 2020. “In Step with Desire” will be featured in Randall’s forthcoming collection, Out of Violence Into Poetry, to be published by Wings Press in 2021.