where were you when the clouds hazed over the moon
when the most acute longings boiled to the surface like a sea on fire
i have waited an eternity for just a few moments to rest
a few minutes to sit and catch my breath in a field of marigolds
swallowing petals like poultices for my lungs that are weary of breathing
i am a curtain filling with light as the dawn breaks over the line of the sea
the billowing wind that carries with it the sense of treason against dreams
and the singular thought that i might never get to do what i was meant to
here in this incarnation where i gasp as i run towards the shoreline
that would let me give myself to that primordial rush
that swells beneath my skin battered by memory,
that would forgive me of my mistakes plentiful as rain,
that would finally let me unyolk myself, and be free.
she is cloud-eater, destroyer of perfection
that illusion that held us so deep in prayer
how predictable our heartbeats are
how the things we can count on
so often drag us into the ground.
she rubs the temples she sits within,
entrenched in the memory that binds her,
a red-eyed heaviness that is not reflected in the mirror
but still penetrates and pervades.
the sluice of the present becomes the past
and she cannot tell where one ends and begins
a glistening fish that evades her severed hands.
midnight drips from the sky, a ruined canvas at most
she brings a palm to her mouth to taste the salt
that will bury her yet before this eviction of ghosts
we were no match for the sunlight,
these dust motes in our eyes
but we broke the seals on the sills
and let in the day.
the things we must face: crowded
grocery stores, the drive to work,
fathers with deteriorated minds,
cavities in our teeth, how i don’t
love you like i used to.
when we cough clouds of memory
float forth, but it’s hazy as a half-
we miss the things we never had,
and the fingerprints on your heart
are mistaken for maps of mountain
ridges that we have never traversed.
eventually we will forget everything,
even the pain of forgetting itself.
i’ve had writer’s block going on two years now.
but it’s time to get to work.
your tongue lies still and cold inside your mouth
the color of cigarette ash on snow
your mouth has become a coffin
a sepulcher of words
What I hate most about going out is that everyone always looks like everyone else to me. I know that person. No I don’t. I remember you. I’ve never seen that person before. Or have I. How did you not see that, he says to me, the body under the yellow tarp in the middle of the highway on our way to work. Because everyone looks like everyone else, I don’t say.
if this is where i must find you
a ruined footpath in the woods
the edge of a shadow against a
wall of water, a salt-stained shaft
of driftwood, endlessly drifting,
then this is where i will find you,
aggressive as a bird even in dreams.
there was one piper, a clutch of
ducklings that spun apart like a
clove of garlic beneath the thwack
of the blunt edge of the knife, in
a kitchen where the roots were
baking and i did not know how,
i could not tell you why, i never
gave you a copy of that poem.
if this is where i must find you,
then let me find you dead and cold,
with only the feather of the piper
between your palms, on a shore
where i lay scattered as broken
shells, denuded and ever-quenched
in your memory.
she detested the maneuvering and sidestepping that always accompanied
the crossing over the threshold, over into that place that stymied all the thrashings
of her elegantly violent soul. she was a satellite–she sat in the middle of the room
surrounded by glass walls and, when appropriate, pulled out clots of her blood
and tossed them into the wastebasket. no one saw her. but they watched her all