Ruth Baumann

Self-Portrait as a Human

There is never enough nature.
One of these lights will burn out first,
my lamp or the sun, meaning
the other one will burn out second
and leave me with darkness.
I don’t remember the right way
to worship. I am told to pray on my knees
but instead it is always the first thing
I mind-utter in morning,
curled sideways, head fluttery
with hopefulness of dreams
and honey-sweet weight of remembered
body. Last night, the doe dead in the highway
looked about as homeless
as I have occasionally felt, teenage and drunk
beyond walking. Growing up in the suburbs
does a strange thing to one’s sense of art:
a butterfly is a motif for tablecloths
or The Collector, not an actual, trembling,
stained-glass winged thing
that, by some miracle, continues to carry itself
across air every day until it dies.