When using my shadow
as ink, my most difficult task
is choosing the paper.
I have pulped and bleached
so much of myself
that I am blessed or cursed
with an abundance of surface
to write upon, remembering always
that to write upon it is as likely to be
disfigurement as it is decoration.
I must take such care to choose
what is written, how it is written.
Readers who come to it when I am done
will have to decide
if this is fact or myth, and
must say if it is good and worthy
regardless, and whether the myth
(if it be myth) reflects truth or if the truth
(if it be true) rises to myth. Even then,
after it is done, my head will be bruised
from the effort to make my own sense if it,
to understand for myself
whether I’ve committed ruin
or glory in this work, this time —
and then, while staring down at my
shadow-drenched hands, at all
I’ve not yet sullied with that dark stain,
I will lean my head over the desk
one more time. Terrified, ecstatic,
one hand moving, one holding the page
steady for the uncertain result
of the unsure labor of showing who I am
to the yet-unknown next reader.