Suit of Lights

I know I was wrong
a good many times, even terribly
wrong more 
           than a good many times. 
But I was also sometimes good, 
sometimes malleable, though those 
are not 
        the same kinds of things. 
It is possible I was selfish,
that I didn't care, or did 
                                  not
care enough. But I was also self-
less, if by that we mean the acute
awareness 
          of how in the end we don't
even belong to ourselves. I was 
foolish to think I could make 
anything  
         bend to my will, 
though I offered my hand or
my cheek or the pulse that beat
below 
      my collarbone. I had
so much, even enough to give
and give away; but also 
impoverished by 
                the daily effort
to keep the brand of ordinary fortune 
neatly stitched under the collar 
of my coat. I know 
                   I felt 
too much but also often kept
that thing we call the heart 
bottled in its own liquids,
rocking 
        itself to sleep 
most nights in a country  
into which I allowed it to be 
smuggled. It's possible 
                    that I know
about beauty but more about pain,
that the body is constantly 
endangered when exposed
to the modal verb 
                  plus the past
participle: it could have been,
it may have been. This is how 
I know I've tried to fake 
the impossible— 
                twirl 
the cape over the bull's 
lowered head while trying
to keep my wrist steady.
    
 

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