Inveterate flatterer

If you let me, if I’d let myself

I’d mention you in every mouthful

Once, at 15, my father said; Stop talking about that girl, I think you’re obsessed!

I was, without yet acknowledging how deeply these things can go

Forget an arrow, your harnessing of me is a tattoo as inked as the one I already have

If you were a sadist you’d say; Good. Now crawl to me

I suspect I would.

Absence is a devour and every hour a little harder

It’s a tortured song locked inside my chest

Awaiting your key.

You, you, you, the bird who flies without feather

You, you, you, the permanent loan against my sanity.

In restless chamber of night, I wake feverish, imagining

Your cruel hands on me, the cull of my longing to lie

Beside you, above you, beneath you, inside you.

The funny thing is, you don’t try, you never have, it comes naturally

Like walking on hands or juggling, neither of which I ever mastered

As you master me with the flint in your eyes and the quiescence of your tongue

Sharp teeth catching against your damson lip, ragged once in a great while

I have become a collector of moments featuring you

The turn of your full cheek set against certain light, eloping into smile

I want to dose you with a spell that you’ll feel

A tenth, a quarter, a handful.

Even as you are a wild thing and I knew it then, as I know it now

A creature who enjoys the pin cushion of being desired

Each gentle intrusion bringing a little fresh blood

Painless for you

A hammer in my heart.

Underwing, in indigo darkness I envelop

My unspoken entreaty and braid it into my hair

With every twist, pulling tighter, for my darling, wishing is

Often pain.

Will

Does the wood pigeon know?

when he calls his coo into the night

the cats who stalk will slink toward

the smell of blood and feathers

as I have gathered myself into quills

and spices sealed in alabaster jar

the sum of me is traveled

through moon and sun

like a cut orange leaves her

stain on wood, sticky and bitter

as your imprint has become

my mandala and the furtherance of us

defies life and death

shaking itself off like a dog released from bath

will hurtle, maddened, toward nearest escape

I grew my vines in your wood

my embers are your fire

this melange of you and I

twined like grapes gathering sunlight

before first frost

and the women take in the clothes, hanging on frozen line

even as they capture the day’s warmth

you stretch in this paper thin life time

sew the jagged edges of my need

with your ivory needle

as if we were part of the same

garment

held up

by

sheer

force of

will

Tapestry


When did we cease being

Wide eyed and curious

Of this velvety world

Not ever

Shouts blue rinsed grandmother

And sings her baudy war songs

To the chip chop chop of her brothers clumsy accompaniment

On stairwell piano with missing ivory

It was said

Parlor tricks began with family visits

Light a cone of newspaper on your head

A second from setting fire to your hair

There were jugglers in the house

Catching Xmas clementines by the handful

And ladies whose pure voices lifted up sagging furniture

Such the gratitude of survival

Friends of shared blood and homemade eye patches

When did we cease lighting candles to cast a glow

Making magic of things otherwise ignored

Not ever

Today, everyone is dressed in threadbare finery

Auditioning for heaven, the old ones say

And all I thought of was the last licorice stick

Staining the inside of my mouth like forbidden wish

We remain alive by sheer will, it is the rush of nature

To keep us tethered by thinnest string, weaving our own

Tapestry