Ink on paper 2012.
To be sorted, set among your souvenirs,
your stock photographs, your classics.
To be licked clean like a cat. To be laid out
some nights on your fire escape, bleached
by the moon to match your sheets. To be safe
in the style of rolled coins, safe like heirloom
pearls under glass, safe like sleep. To be announced,
to be spoken like a dead language, named like
a painting, arranged the way music is arranged.
To be reminded of the passing of hours. To be
reminded of promises. To be held together
like a broken figurine while the glue dries
on my wings. Some nights, to fall asleep under
your breath and dream my skin freckled with
mercury. Some nights, to fall asleep under
your hand and dream my body a nested doll,
only cages and cages, even into the heart.
Published in Gigantic Sequins 2010.
for John Chir
The last woman at your empty grave
is grounding rosaries into the wind, is
stitching a history onto rice paper leaves, is
repeating your name and repeating
your name, is waiting for an echo.
The last woman at your empty
grave is interviewing the dark,
is carving memories between falling
stars, is clawing and re-clawing
the dirt, is searching the trees for
a witness. When the breeze traps
itself in the burrows of her scars,
the last woman at your empty grave
hears only carousel music. When
the marble ribbon of your name
unfurls itself, she shakes like a flame.
The rest of us are wearing party
hats, crouched in a darkened room
waiting to yell surprise for you
when you finally arrive. You are not
with the last woman at your empty
grave. You are in the room with us
wearing a hat. You are huddled
in the smallest corner, reaching out
and losing your hand in the dark.
Published in Open Thread 2010.
I built the bear from what I knew of horses. I didn’t know running except towards joy so I molded his legs as sinewed spindles. When he was done, his mouth seemed too long, the slope of his spine distinctly equine but when I called him Bear he answered. I fed him warm milk in the morning and biscuits before bed. He slept beside me with his muzzle nuzzled into the hollow of my chest. We lived alone, Bear and I, in a wooden house away from town. Bear seemed to like this, would tread the perimeter till the grass dried in a halo. When the rain came we found ourselves with a moat. Bear seemed pleased with this, would huddle closer to me in bed, would wake before me and watch me shudder in sleep. The truth is, I didn’t know horses. I had no books but mirrors and a few yellowed photographs of what I’d left. Bear grew and I noticed things. A familiar glint in his eye I must have carved, a restless twitch about his mouth. One morning I awoke to find Bear’s clawed paw on my naked thigh, three lines of dried blood he’d drawn in sleep. I had to chase him out then, through the door and across the moat where he didn’t pause. I had fixed his eyes forward like mine so he could never look back.
Published in Weave Magazine 2009.