It is difficult to be so many things.
Thought twisting in shivers,
change heavy in my pocket.
At the coming curb, the girl with a yellow-cased
cello on her back will remind me that I am not good
at loving cellists.
In the elevator, I realize,
at the sound of two silt-soft
earth-thick voices, that I’ll never
be a good black woman—
mostly because I am not black
in part because I lack the talent.
Years ago an acquaintance insisted
quite firmly that I’d be the head of Aquafina,
but I think you have to not be afraid of making money
or of giving everything away.
It also seems necessary
to be on fire, and acquire a taste for your own
burning, to be good at anything at all.