AFTER READING LAO TZU

The one who speaks does not know.
The one who knows does not speak,

wrote the old master, which perhaps describes
the situation. Meaning we were all sad.

Meaning that when you were seized by desire,
it was nothing more than flesh, bared above the collarbone

she poured the long night of herself
into empty coffee cans and cornfields

and brushed by air. Meaning: It’s chemical. So
that when the moon rears its parched head,

her eyes a mask on her face, the livestock snorting and pacing,
her absent husband…she died young

when you feel a finger grazing your neck,
it’s only wind created by the movement of

her daughter crying and lighting
fires under the bed

your own body. Downdraft. Live
stock. Because sadness is multiplied

don’t worry, she told me,
you can’t inherit this

by sadness. A cradle of no compare.
Loose conspiracy of mind and body,

dough swelling over the edge of the bowl,
the yeasty smell of it, a disease that is

a blanket over the window
a pillow over the face

known and not spoken and
also the other one,

who speaks and does not know
what to say.

  — Amy Newlove Schroeder