After Whitman on his 200th birthday.
It is crawling and climbing and scrambling and teetering.
There is a fallen tree trunk crossing a bit of creek
and either you balance on it arms akimbo
or you splash along beside it, holding onto it for balance.
It is bordered by sharp barbed-wire fences you cannot lean on to guide you
because you'll cut your hand
if you have hands.
Have I been writing poems all these thirty years that assume everyone has hands?
Do we instinctively lower the volume on the portions of each other's stories
that assume we're part of the club? Do we understand that
and I mean nothing --