My Hair Burned Like Berenice

And after nailed upon the night
Berenice’s burning hair.
—W.B. Yeats, “Her Dream”

Days of rain. The drey outside my window would keel
and the wind would plunder. My heart was valent
with possibility: I could be anyone now, half woman,
half asterism. Fragmental as a new year. Patron saint
of the rutilant and cindering. I could rove incognito
to places pinned in office calendars. Too long I’d
mothered myself with the admiration of onlookers.
I was grateful to be alone in my abstraction. To be both
ignored and abraded by a coarse sky. I did not offer up
parts of me like kindling. I will not embellish a single
hemisphere. The ground bulges with a wet sound.
It is glutted with what was given. I do the wolfish work
of god and make myself again. Ripen like lichen on
the pavement. Like rain carrying the memory of lightning.
More Poems by Ruth Awad