the tasks of the body

The task of the eyes is this: cry and see and see and see and see and cry
Until you see the faces of the children, one and two
Not as heart beatless shades on the ultrasound screen
But hot wet babies in your arms
See less and less and less
Rip and tear
Half black out
Be held in a doctor’s young hand
Be bound with a buckle
Wear a patch
Continue to see
Be told you cannot see
See anyway
Watch the man’s face in the lamplight
Remember the high planes
The thick eyebrows
The hook
The wild splay of feral teeth
The lips that you do not need to see to know

The task of the throat is this: do not speak
Grow nodules that inhibit flow of hormones
Fear cancer and radiation
Accept the needle
sometimes forget or fear to speak
Tell the hands to write

The task of the hands is this
write and write and write and write
never stop writing whether the eyes or the throat work or not
continue to write
as if your life, all of your lives
depended on it
they do

the task of the breasts is this:
grow modestly realize you are pretty
hear false alarms about cancer
grow full and streaked with life
pour forth milk for the children one and then two at once
be proud
try, though small, to protect the heart

the task of the hips is this:
roll and shake and undulate and switch and dance
stretch and widen and give and receive
open to bring the children one and two
know your purpose has been served
be fearless be strong

the task of the legs is feet is this
walk and skate and dance and jump and run
run and run and run
wear six inch aqua blue suede platforms
and tortoise shell stilettos
and sharp boots with chains
pound under a vest of iron
swell, hurt take the needle
almost explode with pain
worse than any the hips have suffered
accept supplements and greens and oils and adjustments
wear comfortable shoes

this is the task of the heart:
open close open close open close
open open open close at the father’s deathbed
close at the mother’s deathbed
close at the further loss of love
wear chains wear locks
rattle in the chest
think you are immune to opening
except to the children one and two
see the man’s face across the table in the dark tibetan restaurant
quake as things do
before they open

this is the task:
stand at the door on the feet
in semi comfortable black boots
do not speak of longing
do not use your hands
do not use your hips
do not use your feet
watch him skip and jump away into the night
that is only partially lit with the hope of longer days in the forms of strings of colored bulbs on wires
go inside
close the eyes
dream of a pool and a waterfall
and beautiful young women surrounding the man you desire
hear him say he considers you virginal
while they stroke his face
when the voice says, “running and running and going nowhere”
say “no, no, going everywhere
for the heart refuses
even after everything
to stay closed
for this
is the final task"