Speak

Oh, angel
you are sick
see now, your luminescence
tremors

you are sick, angel
she told you so
our god with breasts
who held us like a mother
‘in the war for faith, the victorious surrender—
strip your armor.’

oh, angel
you are shedding
you gnawed at your wings
remains of skeleton in your teeth

‘why don’t you floss?’

oh, angel
your mouth will rot
‘speak,’ she said
‘the way to not fear blood is to bleed’
give her your wrist

her knife is simple
and her hand gentle
she’ll count down
so you know
and ‘knowing is better’

this is better.

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The Other Life

The last soul leaves—
I stretch my rigor mortis and force
through the Earth
shoveling and clawing

the dawn is confused by itself
and the worms recoil from
my heat

I move

through the graves with careful steps
because I am trained from
the other life
to be wary of
the temperaments of dead things

there’s a hill where I sit and wait
as dawn pieces its fragments
I kill a stray worm
with the heel of my palm
and smear my guilt in the grass

in the West
there is a creak of a watery door
and wind stirs ash into a gentle storm
a muting snow
it covers the hillside
and blankets the graves
the dawn has a revelation

I resume.

Mirror

The more twisted the dream
the more cautious the light
creeps in
through the window
like a curious creature
watching you slap your bangs
as you fight them like a blackness

it comes up beside your bed
and nudges you
in gentle concern
you stroke it and assure it

it’s just the summer heat
playing its mirror tricks again

and the light nuzzles you
cause it knows
the fear of reflection
and the shame
most.

Cereal

Soggy sweet
cereal bowl
a pocket-sized heartbeat
with a sunny coat
and pink lemonade nose
patters on my lap

Feet up on the balcony
a grocer down below
perhaps a friend
or husband
time slows
and rides the tails of summer clouds
through a pale pool
gliding
sedated with light

Soggy sweet
banana slice
cut like my mother
in an ageless kitchen
against her finger
with her polished thumb
that swoops like a gleaming slide—
we make a solid landing
hardly any dirt on the laces
then muck it up
splashing in skimmed milk rains

And though peace has not chosen me
I have chosen it
be it fictitious
a wish
drawn from ornate obsoletion
and less likely possiblys
sugar still grinds
between my teeth
and the pain
from a once existent cavity
is wonderful and dizzying.

Shift

Here on the hill
we crane our necks
obsessed
with our proximity to the stars
to the extent we do not notice

our shadows
thrown by dead light
are paralyzed
robbed of their nature to
‘shift!—’ the valley people say
‘before the waters in your spine
crystallize’

in a language we were birthed with ears for
‘shift!—’ I hear them call
from down where the only light
comes from the spark of exchanged words
hitting together
from the glow of skin
touching skin
from laughter
bursting in the grasses:
never current
only present

oh, how I long to lower my head
and tumble down to the warmth of the living
but my neck has been like this
too long
and I forget how to command
myself.

Differently, Say More

The winds of your walk
do not disturb even a wing-ed ant
from its stroll beneath a windowsill
but I feel them always
pulling round corners and halls
shafting under doors
and through unseen cracks
and now—ruthless:

they thrashed and beat upon my side
thick with heat
you sunlit thing
emerging

my composure downed in a swift gulp
spread coolness through your chest
a coolness dismissed;
perhaps you were not even parched
but sunlit things drink
and, sunlit, you drank

and then, your voice
ice water threshed
onto once evenly-blooded cheeks
it ran into my collar
a tickling itch
but itch I could not
focus—
your questions were blinding

r-regret

perhaps I should have asked your name
perhaps you would have said it differently
you say everything differently
oh, differently, say more:
a phrase
a word
a syllable

scorch my brow a short while longer
the wind is no trouble, I’ll tie my hair
I’ll temper to the shock of your voice
and care not how my cheeks feel to the touch
as long as the touch is

yours I am not
and yet I am not my own
either.