Nov 24, 2015

My Whole World

Written by Scott Beal

Read by Matthew Henriksen

I slurp from the surface, then give back as a storm gives rain:
scattershot. My world: gather and divide. The world sent
to my address: invoice and valentine. When you pause
on my doorstep the old dog’s voice is sprightly and sharp. No need
to knock. I’m summoned by roars to precedence and presence. The vane
on my roof that spins in the wind prays

for me: scattergood. My roof is bare. My father’s family prays
in place of the spinning wind. As a storm gives rein
to forking fire. My branching cells. The thought of a murmurous vein
can make me blanch and plummet, so I resent
the thought. When there’s a needle I need,
I designate a driver and rest my head, and the hound that paws

my earthquaked brain awake is not the mutt that paws
the back door glass in search of praise
for returning from nowhere to go. Who doesn’t need
unreasonable treats? During Catherine the Great’s reign
new schools sprung up for girls and for mining silver. In 2009, the Saudi king sent
Michelle Obama a $132,000 diamond and ruby jewelry set, in vain

because she re-gifted them to the National Archives, who are not so vain
as to wear them in public. In Riyadh men pause
before speaking lest the king decree their tongues be cut. I’ve never sent
a woman a stone or a yoke. In Medina a woman prays,
hushes, loves per strict prescriptions or faces a rain
of hammers in the hands of her father’s family. I don’t need

to live in Saudi Arabia for my body to need
those hammerheads to turn buttercream. And they don’t. It’s a vain
campaign. It takes a while for a drizzle to drench, and no drop of rain
is shaped like a tear. My whole world is whole. When you pause
on my doorstep you could be from anywhere, so it’s best to praise
everywhere though I’m scared of machetes and the scent

of sulfur. My whole world is broke—not a red cent
to invest—and split-lipped and kneed
in its guts and dumped in shallows where the hammerhead preys.
I stay amazed. I’ve never lived under a weathervane
or been better than a guest under vaulted naves. I clap my paws
in the mud-moist field to feel myself sink into what the rain

has made and remade. What’s heaven sent without need
of heaven. What transmutes in the pause
between drops as the rain drains deeper than praise.