I am singing now of the splinter of wood
you got in your knee as a child and never
got out. Of the splinter that sank out of sight
in your flesh and was gone.

I am singing of something that cannot be lost,
that cannot be changed like your clothes or your voice
(your voice that sinks over time to a low
and incredulous moan

as you know); I am singing of something that cannot
be found, as the querying steel first confessed
in her gentle now outlasted ministering hand
who sought it in vain;

I am singing of something loose in your blood
where it roves without homecoming, never turns back,
traveling even when you are at rest:
that wears you away

like the diamond tip of a phonograph needle
tracking the seams of your bones, scoring
the delicate tissues, and singing I
a?n the splinter of wood

I am singing the truth that your skin tries to hide:
that within you are only the wound that you got
as a child on your knees on the splintering floor,
or sometime before.