Apartment 102

In Anatolia,

my hands are cracked

with clotted river clay.

In Egypt,

I am a long-necked queen

perched highly

over peacocks.

 

In Berlin,

I watch the boxcars

grumble down the icy tracks

and pray

that no one calls today.

If I could slip
beneath the great southwestern sands
and curl with the cicadas,
cool and dreaming,

 

if I could surface anywhere in time,


I think that I would surface

in the kitchen, sipping bitter beer

with stocking feet

and thrift store counter clutter

back when we lived in the apartment
with the green door

and I fell asleep
when you did.

Two Black Oxen

When they brought your yellow body through the house
my mother cried like petals
falling from a limp rose
hanging upside-down
to dry. 

Somewhere beneath the earth,
your bones are two black oxen
breathing
in the dark.

Somewhere in Texas,
I am up too late remembering
I sang to you all night
as you were dying.

Somewhere in time,
we are still witnessing
the brightness in your eyes
each time you saw the blue crane
in the river.

The Smallest Tree

On our backs, on the lawn of your old house

we stared up at the trees,

a hard wind moving through them

in a violent dialogue.

The smallest tree was fluttering

uncertainly

and we wondered what it might

be whispering.

That summer,

You left

to live with horses

and raw earth.

You and your quiet heart went blossoming

among the simple symmetry

of gardens.

When you brought the french girl with you to the country

I knew inside my bones that you could not belong

to me or

anyone.

When you went to Rome, the Holy Ghost inhabited

the parts of you

that unanointed love

would never occupy again.

And I am here

in your backyard

with that small tree, still

whispering.


Stars and Sighing

Here it is: The secret of the soft skin,
the quiet flesh you sinned against 
and wore so cleanly thin. 

Here it is: the bird beneath the cracked moon's
ragged rising;
the roses in the limp room damply dying.

There are two motions: 
stars and 
sighing.

We are the bruised miracle,
needling the chapped and chatteled Word,
immaculately misconstrued and overtongued
and badly heard.

We rattle in the time that we will bendlessly become,
and shuffle on the loose feet of a borrowed battle drum.

I am my native land. I am the soil 
and the scars;
The stains of coffee cups and circuits 
of the stars.

and history...
and history...

And history, the spidered orbit
of a bone beneath an acre 
of wet grass.