he’d gone bottom-fishing in his own head,
deciding what of me to keep.
Finally surfaced in a flurry of bubbles:
I said strange weather ever since you got back
and his eyes said yes: his eyes were everywhere
clouded and cast on my skin which could feel
what his fingerprints were thinking.
Through rainclothes our blood made a lazy agreement
and my skin began its dream through his hands,
through their myth of Middle America, their invention
of prairie songs and rough timber.
In his palms I saw maps of red dust and rivers—
saw them pressed to me, saw them lifting
to show their lines in arrows on my skin.
My blood in barrel knots I was caught in his ring of prayer
and so turned to the gods of the lake: let me absorb
some geography of elsewhere, mark the crossroads of two rivers
on the small of my back. On my ribs, the saloon’s swinging door.