Poem Beginning with a Mattock
water from your bones like milk like something taken / for granted / what I wanted to say all this while / what I was trying to / pour my thoughts around / this idea of never / your hand cupping my breast teeth scraping / flesh of scapula / morning light flash across unfluttered lashes / sadness which has its own logic / strange and violent as epiphany / the body in its righteous asking / how do you manage I say again / and again unmemorize me / relearn forgetting that language granted you / by histories rote as the passage of dust / into time into / where the beginning looks like something rooted in air / where was this hour to remind us that / nothing beckons disappointment / without first souring / fist-sized blooms of hope not / the heart’s eager emancipation / it’s fine / what a sweet mercy to remain a secret / from yourself all these years / spent in excavation and still the answers / their muddy undersides / left unturned
Body Language; or Small Metacarpal
Call it beeswax, call it French braid, call it double
helix: these cheeks not ruddy enough for spring.
I break into backbend, my torso a mirror to the sky.
Tell me something marvelous: the names
of finger bones and unaccustomed clouds.
Like those before me, I rewrote history. Who among us has not
scrubbed the page until eraser morphs to metal?
This country asks of me my name and when I lie
it only laughs and laughs.
I have wanted to be in love with the world,
but it did not love me back. Now the woman I was
demands answers and there is no one here
to give them. My thighs parted for summer, heat charging through my body like a song.
Sometimes my brain goes blank
with wanting: cereal and milk, the ninth hour
of sleep, parade of his tongue
along the soft arc of my ribs.
I smell the sea but it is only a river bordered on both sides by idle hills.
Flesh is neither holy nor unholy, but raw fact,
These careless chants will undo us yet.
Arcus, virga, lenticularis.
Little Poem; or, Poem Beginning Before We Meet in Person
counting prayers in my teeth morning unleashes its hoary net
over hills rabid with green the insufficiency of birdsong in the wake of
your rugged breath salt fever memory of your voice its texture
your fingers romancing strings the body’s way of answering
a need as yet unnamed sheet tangle a day lost inside hours stained blue by longing
no clock ticking no broken world beyond screen-snagged
window pane another flagrant dark a lasso of heat liquid as night
encircling my limbs waltz in unkempt dreams watch the moment shudder
you back to earth to waking wherever that is watch the small wonders
dawn on rain-slicked loam bend body mouth in benediction
Poem Beginning with Bitter Rind
|in the body there are no answers||without questions|
|everything asked for||unearths its roots in something dark and|
|ruthless||in the body where I came|
|looking for mercy||I found rebuke|
|served up stale and stolid||by fingertips|
|blanched and peeling||the blunted edge|
|of aboriginal desire||softened like rot in|
|I crawled away from myself||clawed away at myself|
|mouth bloodied||as afterbirth|
|this hollow-walled room||a coffin this appetite|
|silence has made me||accustomed to silence|
|a lid clattering to the floor||isn’t a song|
Poem Beginning with Broken Bones in Another Recession
everything I wanted skulked back to some first principle original in its dread invested in accordance with the ribcage’s first wager taken at face value what you cannot have and to hold this lonesome disavowel soft callus spongy bone memory’s distinct insistence a persistence I applied pressure a perfect re-organization anticipate volatility asymmetry or rather recalculate pain management the primary operation all in callous disregard for the body’s junk bonds and bridges up to nine years of growth no guarantee but cast aside or look the other way in traction pins needles diversification is vital begging for a hemorrhage I settled for a papercut