He was spectacularly guilty

Of thought a right mess even in a body

Of water of endless messes he would

Sink to the bottom when he tried to

Walk on the stilted tension surface

Of a conversation that was laid out

Before him. He was the excavation

Of not knowing what to do, a dense

Field of lavender out of season gone

Woody, not fully understanding the

Concept of ownership and what opinion

To have next. How to jump forward

Into the crash of the next pull on

The rope. He was made smaller

By the corset of his own mind’s ideas

Every day stooping and pausing to

Consider the safety of each choice

A man among princes, never there

To see the canyon mountain through

The trees. A bit of greenery, a chicken

Wire cage before him. The new season

Of happiness and growth spurts just happening

The spirit not worthy, his mind

A rushing full of doubt and he was

All along, standing in place, the doorway

On either side, oh, only to be

A few inches out of reach

What he would not give for that.

Millicent Borges Accardi, a Portuguese-American writer, is the author of four poetry books, most recently Only More So (Salmon) and the forthcoming Through a Grainy Landscape (nominated for a PEN award). Her fellowships include grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), Fulbright, CantoMundo, Creative Capacity, the California Arts Council, Yaddo, Fundação Luso-Americana, the Foundation for Contemporary Arts (Covid grant), and Barbara Deming Foundation, "Money for Women."