Ana Garza
Cross-Legged on the Grass

Till now, my muse Failure has taught me
how to cling with my fists to the ever loosening
skin of the earth, curving down from the hem of my skirt,
my legs folded under, a paper bag

beside my knee. Till now, she has been
the one sharing my meal: tap water
in a dented plastic bottle, cold Chinese noodles,
an apple lifted slyly from a shelf

of damaged things. Till now, she has been
the one to chatter endlessly about physics: curvature
and motion, momentum, inertia, the certitude
that all bodies that cling to convex surfaces must slide,
the inevitability of rest. She has

sipped from me through the water bottle
at my lips, spoken
to me, leaned forward like the hollow rush inside
the bottle, the sound I hear in dreams about slipping off

all surfaces and burning to a cloud before the muscles
drop into airless space. “If you lie back,”

she says, “tip,” she says,
“your shoulders, arc

your hips to make your body the true meniscus

of space,” she breathes, “and if
you tense the tendons behind your knees to shape
the fungus by your wrists, if you regulate
your breathing so the outline of your belly forms
the seal between the sky and you,
and if the tightness of the water closes
at your neck exactly where the skin above your shoulders flutters,

contoured like your throat--then you can draw
your mouth into an undulating song and, singing,
never sink into the wet or slide.

"Or slide.” And she sighs,
the smell of plastic and of chlorinated drink
spilling on my skirt, my fingers
catching tightly to the grass