Alberto Rios

One of the Two of Me

I feel thirsty. The feeling is clear, spoken aloud inside.
Thirst. It’s me talking, but it’s the other me, the body,

One of the two of me. The brute who does not use words,
Does not let me use words, instead making me feel:

Thirst. The one who lives in me like a baby,
Crying at one thing then another, telling where pain is

Not by pointing but by being the pain, speaking pain
In place of words, connecting me to the splinter

In the tip of my forefinger. Where did that come from?
I touch it. It hurts in response. It will not do what I want,

It will not go away, will not wait. This loud pain
Baby of things, this whimper it makes of me

Even shushed, its doggish snout down and muscles, too,
Its whole body slumped to the ground.

And yet, a whimper. And movement. I command it,
But to no avail. It will not gather itself into one thing,

Acting instead as if it were a thousand of itself,
Each speaking out of turn and as it pleases.