Friday, October 29, 2010

And The Fever Left


Take off your mask
take off your jeans
let go of that kitten
and put your soft hands on me

Time spun you away one year
took me down
and then brought you back here

You are a Stranger to me
because of your sincerity
-- which I know because of where you don't look --
your words are a crown
for the weariest eyes:
(I'm covered in mud
compost skull
a head full of shit
familiar with fungus, I am close
to damp-death)

Your flickering, fading-full
your light, your life as a miracle and your absence of hate
was my last-second
unexpected grace.

You're not the color I was looking

Friend, you wrapped my wounds
in caution tape
and carried my broken body back to bed, where I just slept
still, safely.

I knew you were meant to be like that silver stallion
just a touch of sadness in his fingers
and with my weak breath
I breathed a prayer over you:
a thank-you so silent
I hope it heals you: still.

I hope your skin will absorb the truth, slowly,
like water and like blood
we can dissolve into the blessing
of a perfectly timed friendship.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Hannah Veak

I think that somewhere along the way we turned into good women.

It has been more than a pleasure to experience the last 4 years with you.

You are my best friend, and I love you, Hannah Veak.

Chin up.
Chest out.

The not careful one

-- Photo by Rachel Jonas

Monday, September 27, 2010

Milk and Moon

A woman is one kind of creature
in the coolness of the porch
another species in the kettle steam
the brown heat of the kitchen
and a third in the dimly lit bedroom
You have many names for these changes
still she thrusts
her chin up
for the many layers, peels, phases,
cocentric circles, lunar cycles, spheres, spaces,
dirty sinew, ripped laces, mixed metals, bloody rags, cut bread,
old snow, rusty leaves, powdered shadows, wide ranges.

--Dedicated to Stacey Cope

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Potato Grace

Poetry comes to me through the potatoes.
My head grows sane with each stroke
of the knife
through the rough, pulling skin,
translucent white tuber.

I pour the salt and think of God,
asking him to close every door
and let me be alone
at the cutting board:

A place
where there is no insecurity
no fear
no jealousy

Just a small task,
and peace in that.

Marge Piercy

Now I get coarse when abstract nouns start flashing.
I go out to the kitchen to talk cabbages and habits.
I try hard to remember to watch what people do.

-- "In the Men's Room(s)"

Pregnancy Test

You loved him as his mother always told him
he deserved to be loved.
Now love yourself.

Her round belly withers, whittled
dry down to the roots,
and less than a life
lies beneath cold mud.

She smears cold butter on sourdough.
As his truck pulls away,
she is comforted by the absence of a stranger
and eats breakfast alone.

Words can steal dreams
from underneath the moon.
She will curse the day
his fingers opened wide
the sweetness, like a snow-cone,
left to melt,
now - polluted, salty as the sea.

After pulling on thin jeans
and washing her face in the dirty sink,
she leaves guilt -small, plastic, and negative-
on the table
and is gone forever.

Until the periods
between death
and resurrection
she will dream
- slowly -
of growing back
as sleek and fat,
an aloe plant.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Recipe: for sisters

Sister: You have two claws
and a beak where there used to be a mouth
-- black beady eyes and a red nose.
You want to slit open his guts
with the sharp edge
of each word.

Sister: You have a popped
blood vessel in your right eye
and your head in a ceramic bowl.
You're far away from us
and drowsy, head drooping
like a small child sitting
too long in the sun.

Sister: You are stuck in the middle
of someone else's crusted-black lung,
your problems like flies
around your glorious crown.

Sister: You have a bare brown arm in the moonlight,
and you hear a soft echo--
Do you miss it?
Creeping slowly into your bed
is a memory of bird noises made in the kitchen.
Closed eyes block out the silence
and a confession that was stuck, I'm sure, on the tip of a tongue --
but you left that love on the porch.

By the pure power of our imagination we:
dreamed all evil men good
thought bad things about our bodies
and supposed we could save lost souls.

We were trapped
in the seedy under-belly
of the bible belt.

But now, quietly waging a war to be free,
we slip out of town
one by one,
and our soft, scarred arms
as we put down the weights.

This is the grit that grinds the pearl.
This is the wind that waxes the world.
This is the worm that undoes the fact.

[dedicated to Cassidy Sickmen]