With a Cup of Tea

I watch leaves swim beyond
my window
morosely toward the green sea,
boiling white where the edges
reach longingly toward
clouds, relatives left behind,
and warm.

I watch the leaves like I see you
standing next to me, your
eyes and lips content,
not wanting.


Collection. Eviction.

In the morning grey, lamp-posts
draped in recent rain, I saw
him, his head like late wheat
as he drifted on the breeze toward
me.  I let the wind wrap her
arms around me, gently
like the time I fell from the crib
and mother touched my cheeks
with the sky and a thousand

fluttering butterflies, sweetpea
blooming as her fingers recreated
the sun, moon and stars for me.
His hand rose slowly, burning
flameless against my winter skin
and he stood by my side
and stared, eyes like empty
rooms, toward the midnight
sky, yellow with august thunder

storms.  Between us
another, a stranger, lemon and
grains of white dissolving
against my tongue.  He sees my eyes
filled with stacks of papers
regarding my father's passing:
dates attached to names of people,
who used to visit our home,
that room above the grocer's.  These

are the moments I remember, these
collection and eviction notices.  He,
my father, scribbled on the backs
of envelopes, scratched elegies
of a man alone, numbers
and numbers.  There were always
numbers written in the way
his hand lectured my cheeks and back,
ink-scratched like the envelopes.

I wondered then, as I wonder now, if
the stranger standing between us,
this snow forming grey on the road,
smiled inside when he saw me
kneeling sidelong on the kitchen floor,
my skirt blooming over my knees, my eyes
clouds of early spring rain.  I wonder
as, between my teeth, he melts
into my throat, lingering and sour.


Across the Grass

Without compulsion, my finger rises
to my lips, and I pause my wandering.  He stands
across the grass, mindful and watching, listening
with ears like vacuums, pulling in sound
from the far reaches of the universe.  His fur,
unkempt, rustles in the wind, his suit-vest catching
the dizzying leaves like a sunset.  He, like
many others, is late, he mentions without moving.

His ears drop back, inquiringly yet cautious
as if it is I who instills fear.  As if I will move threatening
toward him; or perhaps away from him,
like so many others.  Perhaps that is why he, brown
like the orangeing sky, stands, forelegs
at his sides, eyes black with sorrow.  He's late,
he seems to say again, though no words breach
the windblown silence between us.  I know,
I reply, and I'm sorry.

Blades of grass press against my dark legs
as the wind lifts my skirt like the grass, my legs,
toward him without volition.  Still he stands.
Always still as if his wife and children are already packing
clothes and small belongings into bags
and walking out the green door, which complements
the brownstone so well (his wife would always say),
like his pants and tie complement his fur.  Perhaps
they are already gone as he stands there, across from me.

In the sky beside us, the sun walks its long journey
home, returning to wife and child, and I ask where
are you going.  I left a week
to roam, walking through the grass, the autumn
filling me.  I left to roam.  I, the other one.
Without moving I've reached him, my skin resting
on his foreleg, warm and enveloping, his fur
swallowing my coffeed hand.  I left to roam,
he says again without saying.  I know, my arms
whisper as my head gently rests
against his blushing shirt, pink in the autumn night.


Symptoms Diluvial

Inside, the melancholy mixed vertically
at first before settling lifelessly
onto the shelves and into the drawers
of old oak.  He stepped
into the quietude of that post-
tumultuous air, his arms still
quivering, goose-pimpled.
Dawn, he thought, will soon
come, his eyes wet from night. Soon,

he repeated aloud and growing
louder, there will be the warmth
of her hair around my neck
and something of a closeness.
And he waited, akimbo in the center
of the night, to feel the orange
pulse of her heart upon his closed
eyelids, to smell the dew
and fluttering birds, the nodding
amaranths, quickening with her

breath.  He stood, the center
of some unforeseen galaxy, the darkness
rotating around him, rotating him
around, pulling him toward
the flood.  Opening his eyes,
the water poured in, clear and filling
him, and he watched the geese
fly overhead in concert. Yellow washed
into the bowl as, spreading his arms,
the water carried him winding away.


Alone in the Flood

I had always known it would finish
in death. He rose to his feet, the mirror
catching his reflection, trapping
him in its ephemeral prison. Senescent, my
eyes grasped their own reflection, scalding
tears running over my cheeks
down to the white pillow- my body
alone in the flood, flotsam upon
the rising water, exposed
to the sun. He left, his cell
unable to hold him. I remained,
dead and breathing, the last petal
dangling from the inflorescence.

A Dream Quiescent

It is better to be dreaming than alone,
she whispered in my ear like splinters
of wood. I gazed into the reflection of her
standing behind me, that abysmal
darkness, and I saw the smile she
imprinted on the wall as if the next three
hours would pass without existing.
A new life is waiting, she whispered again,
calling me from sleep, Together
we'll walk without waking, quiescent.

Waking Alone

A cold trumpet morning wakes
me from dizzying sleep, climbing
slowly up into the fir outside
my window. Frost cracks
the panes of glass separating me
and the world. Inside
my head I scratch lines and erase
the dust from blackboarded walls
in furious pensiveness. Yellowing
white dust attacks my fingertips
and the front of my pantlegs,
drying the life from inside out.
Drying the life I remember from days
past and almost-forgotten. I see her
face washing away in the rain,
a child's drawing on the steps up
to the front door. I stretch my hand
toward the window and touch the cold
glass, hoping to melt away the pain
that remembering exhales.

Still, she used to say, the wind
will never blow you away. A leaf
drifting from branch to earth, browning
along the margins. Centrally yellow,
fading. Into the soft morning
I blink and let go.


Within, Satisfaction

Under the table, I dream
as the windows rust with falling
rain. I dream that come
morning, no man on horseback
will come to save the day. No,
not this time, in this world
where the street lamps turn
to scaffolds at dawn and crowds
gather and cheer with eyes
sewn shut, mouths filled with sand.

From under the table, I see her
legs smooth beneath the bottom
of her skirt. Her feet untroubled
and feeling. I reach my arm
toward her, the air between us
engulfing my skin like flames

for I shall touch not the anointed.
If the dead rise again it will be without
satiation, I repeat under my breath,
and all the world will see the morning
of my birth. Her feet leave red holes
on the wood as under the table, I see her
walk, legs hastening toward
the window, looking
toward the scaffold, expecting
a familiar face: her own.

Nocturne 118

From within the darkest rooms, her
eyes, melting into the night, force
their gaze upon the corner of my skin.

She wanders through the haze
and sits without sound upon the water,
floating fragmented throughout
each breath of air moved from my lungs
and lips. I hold her
still until she stops whispering,
her lips simplified in the darkening
wasteland. I unfold

the papers from my back
pocket, reading and re-reading
penned lines to a love long dead-
she never touched my arm. I
never told her I loved
her that night without knowing
her name.

She slipped behind the curtain
and bowed her solemn face
to the emptiness all around, welcoming
the coming storm.


I, Too, Waited for the World to End

He never looked at me
as he walked through
the arched doorway that evening
in the rain
nearly four and a half years ago.

He never looked at me
as he entered
our home all those years
through the drought
nearly four and a half years.

He never looked, but he came.
He came, not like the visitor
that he was. He didn't clean his
shoes on the mat outside the front
door. He came
as though he lived there,
and he never looked. Not at me.

Without looking at me he
climbed the stairs one at a time,
not hurrying. He walked
one step and another to the top, where
he would find her room and her,
waiting for the world to end.

The handle turned with a click
and the door screamed gently open
to her and her waiting. He closed
the door sighing softly. He always
closed the door to her room
when he came.

He came without looking at me,
never looking at me, as he
tracked mud up the stairs to her room
those nights in the rain. She waited
for the world to end. He came.


Luminous All Around

Between waking, the fever set in:
cold, damp, crystalline. Overlooking
the worn-out city, I crawled to the edge
of my bed, covers clinging to my flesh -
a post-modern lover without
a name: fewer complications. From my
head I melt down to the toes, forgotten
and left to rot behind the fridge
of my apartment, sixth floor and climbing.

Puddling on the floor, I empty
the innermost bile from every pore
and wander like a believer
through the desert and everything red
and sand. The dark rooms
where you followed me down, to kiss
behind the sheets, the clothesline, now
mutter forbidden stanzas into the black
mirror without reflection. She climbs

to me through haze, unprepared,
in yellow leggings and cheeks
of porcelain: mirror on the wall.
Listening with deaf ears to my crashing
cymbals voice and shattering body
in the tub, water rising slowly to drown.

Boy. I, I, I

Inside, a boy I found. The universe
and a thousand stars painted
on his cheeks. Inside his eyes
a dark sky, unquenchable.

Inside a boy. I found the universe
and a thousand stars. Painted
on his cheeks, inside his eyes,
a dark sky. Unquenchable.

Inside a boy I found the universe,
a thousand stars painted.
On his cheeks inside. His eyes
a dark sky unquenchable.



Slipping into the looking glass, honey poured
reverently from a tarnished spoon into warmed tea, I feel
the ripples of glass reverberate against
and across my skin, up mountains, descending
valleys, through bracken. Almost like the wind,
humming through my hair and fingers,
my reflection augments the sound of my voice
as deeper I slip. Toes, thighs, waist. Submerging
the oldest song into an unknown catechism,
words blending with words immemorial. Chest,
neck, mouth. As the glass reaches my lips, I open
and partake, my reflection swirling
into the darkness of my own self, and the words come,
without compulsion from the deep: an echo
in the half-light. A hymn without refrain.



I failed to mention how I loved
the color of the sky

the day my neighbor passed
into unambiguous sleep. She went quietly,
they say. Like a muted trumpet or a paper


Insatiably yours,
my canary in winter,
perching mid-sentence.


Again in Spring I Cry

Brick lifted upon brick, forcing together the clay
to force the enemy out. To keep him
out and gone forever.

He speaks the words, the last words,
and my eyes like candles shrink
and diminish under the flame in the pit
of his volcanic sky. And he, my darkness,
sinks and burns with blue sorrow
into the pit beneath my waxen eyes. His serpentine
hands slithering through my hair,
constricting around my throat chest waist. Metallic

against my petalled skin.

I lift clay to mouth, wetting and molding. Brick
drying against mortarless brick eternally. To the end
of the world this building. And the only alternative

is no alternative, an underworld of silver linings,
golden chains wrapped loosely (and growing
tighter) around my neck with promises
of a full gut and a place to lie.

I lie while bruised blossoms melt and mold

into persephonized daughters. Sleeping and wilting
forever reflowering next to the Lord
and Master of the wedding bed, the man
standing next to me, cold and endarkened.

Sunflowers bloom and I turn away from the morning, pulling
the sheets over my bare breasts and eyes, wanting
like another simultaneous death
to slip into the river, wet and cold and unchangeable.


Slowly, the Scaffold

The air said go, so I walked. Slowly at first and stumbling
into the too-brightness of the midnight sky, like
walking out into noon. I walked slowly.
At first I didn't feel the rain crawling gently across my face
and I didn't feel the rain as it turn into screams
of violent machinations of thought and superfluous
solemnity. Solemnity isn't the word. No. And,
as if my life depended upon this one moment, this hanging
from a hundred-foot noose, as if tomorrow
didn't exist without the loose gravel upon
which I stood, I breathed out the pronouncement,
a judge in the lesser courts of life, trivialities
of utmost import. As if my life depended
on something that grew inside of me until its branches
burst from unforetold imaginations, those tiny
dancing bears and painted roses that skate across
the hallways while you sleep. I stopped. I breathed
without ceasing. And when I looked up, I saw
that it was not me, who was hanging from the noose-
She hanged, dripping rain upon my cheeks.


Da Capo

Following the wind into winter I crawl across
the broken glass of last year's late night celebrations
as the sun gently bites my bare back, now black
from neglect. My hands dig into the hard ground
like a lioness' claws into a gazelle, spilling life
from the Earth into the open air that wraps me tight
like an axillary bud, warmth from the wounds
dripping up from the glass in my chest to my eyes
covered by moss.

Still, she would always say before the last breath
of my life. Be still and I'll sing to you a string quartet
with violins crying and pleading for mercy
on cold nights in the autumn holocaust, the altar
itself turned to flame, the taste of rotten meat
tied forever to your memory. I sat still,
prostrate as the metal blades hummed behind
my head, and collapsed into kaleidoscopic
shafts of light and warmth. I remember her wiping
me from her cheeks, her hands still smooth.