after Stanley Kunitz

If I told you I was naked?
If I told you I kept disappearing
that spring only to be found

again and again in red clay
or elephant grass, scratch daisies,
rows of pale streets dressed

for the night in glossy sprays
of sweet olive? Once, I came to
in a tsunami of kudzu. Once,

in the Ace Hardware store
parking lot. It’s a lot
to ask of anyone — Do you think

you can ever believe?
Meanwhile, the gardenias
can’t keep it to themselves.

The bougainvillea go on blooming.
Out there the stars
are firing up like wounds too hot

to bear. The night tugs
its mouth shut like a zipper.
I am always waking up

to a blank morning in another
empty field,
pellucid and waning,

the horizon white
as a jawbone, clenching itself
to me like teeth.

Kate Gaskin