And how

Hear how the fox festoons dusk

With larkish bark the color of a young girls best pitch

And how

Bathed in sweat I consider mortalities strange lyre

The photos of parts of me transposed and caught in time

Nothing is real and all is magnified by the mind

As she weaves her dream about our smoky heads

Tiptoeing over slate roof tops like ballerina forced to cat burgle

In this sliver of reality I choose

To disguard any mantle of victimhood

In imperfect slices of myself I have survived

Nothing will tear me down, save the last licorice root before tree fall

I have played acquiescences tuneless keys long enough

This is what growing up feels like at any age

The acceptance, not all is well or right yet

If I look, I know my worth

I’ll not give it away to appease those who seek

Through their own brokenness, to strip me of waterproofing

Time is too drunk on her singularity

She is in the bare knotted tree branches

Bowing together in subjugate to winter’s breath

Fat cheeked children licking plum juice from woolen fingers

And though separate, we are in conversation from

The very moment of our meeting

I am talking to you and listening close

As river water hides stoop of cold

Dashing its relentless self across us all

Bound and sheltering

From chill? From ourselves? The secrets behind our eyes or

Those said things unwrapped and steaming on kitchen table

The fire changing light to ghosts

I hear three generations

The reflection of another casting

My own breakage

Gathered with bright leaves in sacks of deposed

Being told fear is a disease we let enter

Turn it out, rent out those rooms you no longer inhabit

Turning as I have, to you

The shining of your throat covered in words

I’ll not let loose

Waiting for you

At hungry waters edge

In any country in the world

In any language

You run ahead

Turning back

The half moon of your face

Drawing light

An infusion

Aching

And the unseen fox

I imagine her as you

Bold wordless vibrance

Full tail, muscular legs

The twitch of beauty

Stark against tarmac

Owning darkness

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Needle

Learned early

How to let go

Always saying goodbye

Short twitches of time

I learned

Through closing french windows

Palid light playing in empty spaces

Where dust looks like a jewel and distance

Can be swept up with the debris clamoring to get there

Doing nothing honors nothing

So we packed our memories in minced words

The river poorly stretching like colourless yawn

You inhabited the past before a future existed

Leaving, the ambelical chord severed in a neat recoil

And I learned, as in your turn you learned and in your mother’s turn she knew

Not to expect the people who should love you, to stay

I am a string of colored glass about memories neck

And as the rocket becomes totem in rain swollen skies

I wish myself an astronaut

To propel from tierra and leave behind legacies

Of loss

On a hot night, my hand sweats the melting ice tonguing glass

And in our imagination
we are needed

Vouched for by a tight stitched safety net spread over jagged edges

I was told I said thank you and sorry too much

So I quit saying both

Though it was only a habit bourne from

Being from people who never apologized.

Letting go is the most familiar feeling I possess

I turn to it like a lined book and scribble my fears in its grimy recesses

And the hairbrush and night light you left behind

Burns out and stays as cold as walking around the house without socks

Clings and repels

Calling in sick

Staying absent there is more oxygen

Catch me if you can says the long distance runner

We who stop and start our watches, so many times

Much used joints ache prematurely

And the thrum of rain is a constant

Thread through memory books

Poised as young dancers

Will crane to catch

Every elongation of unfolding sound

It was what bonded us

Immediate, like transferred ink

Can’t be licked off

The intimate knowing of good-byes and loss

Its reverberation in unused spare rooms

Pacing emptiness and her poor assuage

Until it was our turn

To raise the knife and bring our uncertainty

Puncture through fine quill of transparency

Hurt has that synonym

A song playing on repeat

Forever tasked to jumping her needle

The shape of us

Lift her up

there the hang and fall

bestowed in little curtsies

hemming the space we form

in exultant strong brewed motion

plump on passion your swell against think of light

can I possess, what is unbound?

or will ghosts gather your wicked savageries

plant in ground this divining rod

lightning conducts flame like cautious feline

one brush, my teeth, your skin

panther lolling in banyan tree

emerald leaves the size of clenched fists

slick fruit ripe for the picking

a slice of muscled thigh, a twitch, spice, sigh

rising and falling in cotton swell

pass through the fabric holding us back

nectarine and jasmin

pearl slope of your thin back arched against my hand

dieties take turns to spell focus

wisteria and moon glow

crush of posies, carrying arching silouette

how much I have longed for you

this exact shape and time

in emptiness we find familiar fullness

in loss there is a stranger turn a friend

to bid us back to believing ourselves unpicked

we are part of this weave

tight against fabric, space, destined

as I watch the ribbon in your hair

twisting against itself, trying to work its way loose

there is purpose in the dark damson of your eyes

taking me down from my shabby habit

glass creatures beneath sugared earth

melting against the other

a fusion

the shape of us.

(I had this beautiful idea, two people met
neither one was afterward capable
of loving anyone else with the same intensity
because they were made for each other
every part of them knew, nothing could change that
not all the different people in the world and its various temptations
not anything)

Lantern girl

pexels-photo-980859I desire things I’m not allowed to have

like a ball of twine will wish to be perfectly recalled

nothing looks as new after it is worn

I carry the burrs, twigs and meal of my journey

the caterpillar hollows my tunnel

the firefly lights the way ahead

she told me, the way people smell is how she knows

whom to trust, whom to join, whom to discard

her feet are hennaed, her eyelashes thick like horse hair

when she looks at me, the moon is insignificant in contrast

these sighs ride on a warm wind to far-flung places

we follow as addicts of destination

there is nothing about here keeping us

aside ourselves and the anchor of habit

in novels the heroines grow older and more hesitant

to join eclipsing tide and sail away

you have never had such palsy

you are brimming with courage like

a stout drink of rum and your lips taste

of cane sugar and nectar and hot-house flowers

it is the wakening of ice over water

turning from a mirror back into ocean

we dive from volcanic rocks and the sun

casts her web around us in perfect seclusion

just then, the sound of the world cannot be heard

it is only the whisker of your hair against my arms

as I pull you closer

your smile is a lantern lighting doubt

your fingers are paint brushes altering my color

from blue to silver and indivisible

as damosels who love

their joy bound to convention

we live twice as hard

to make up for those never permitted

left to hear the roar of their heart

in the emptied hollow of a seashell

on a beach somewhere

where you walk

footprints leading me

into transparent water

Without you

Your betrayal came before the post on Monday

If I listened it may have sounded

Like paper in air, losing gravity

The unexpected slap of shiny magazine

And echoing hinged snap of closed door flap

The postman left his shoe imprints in the snow

One way in, one way out and the bare branches of the trees

Were cold dancers cupping themselves to imaginary fernace

You had already gone before the skies admitted

Their talcum-powdered descent of white

Your letter, handwriting in your bold certain shape

The same hand that had led me up the stairs

A silver bracelet bought when we visited the seaside, on your wrist

Strong hand, reaching for me, for my rustle and my yawning silouette

We were shapes against the mirror of moonlight

Streaming our own version of whispers and little cries

You never let go of my hand even

As you turned your neck and slept, dreamlessly by my side

And I lay in partial light feeling your resonance

Play like an instrument on my damp skin

Your upright, careful letter and the last word, your name

A name I had put into the core of me and melted down

Covering any fear that you’d crack my heart

Open like a woodland walnut and expose the soft innards

No, not this woman, with her fingers reading my brail

And her tongue searching for stars in the folds of hesitate

She has breathed me in, carved her name in my wood

I cannot stir without a part of her moving alongside me

Life no longer singular I am now and always, illuminated

By her rounding glow and the peach dream of her thighs

Wrapped in mutual surround, the open window

Carrying our symphony into gloaming night wind

How then are you gone?

As rapid as my chest threatens to explode

A single firework

Removed from me and behind, spending in your wake

Emptiness

Letters furthering no explanation, blurring in porcelain horror

If I had listened

Maybe the stir of settling snow or else

Some torn part would reveal

The sense in loss

I stand by the picture window

Wearing an old shirt of yours

Yellow at the collar and faded with wash

Across the road, a neighbor walks her dogs

She glances my way and sees

Only the shadow of

A life without

You

Nourishment

There resides in you

A shifting filament

While you are composed of water

The filament burns sage and longing

Sometimes the current of your nature holds you back

Makes you feel tired just stepping into effort’s shoes

The filament never tires but stares

Bare eyed into the center of the humming universe

And spinning in its helium, sees what you could have been

If like others

You had caught fire instead of brine

And rising out of the ocean

Growing legs and feet to run

Naked and filled with satelite urge

Down shining shellac road

But it was not your way

You are the gentle nudge behind theatre curtain

You prefer the feel of bunched velvet and the spotlights on the other side

When young girls fought to be first

You found no competition pooling in yourself

It was as if

You had drunk your fill and

Just wanted to be free

People would say

Why doesn’t she want more?

Why doesn’t she fight for it?

They did not understand

She was made of water

There was only so long she could

Breathe air

And the heat of desired things

Steaming on the tongues of others

Before she slipped gratefully

Beneath the membrane of the world

And watched

Them clamor

And beat their chests

To get one step ahead

She was

Running out of time

For her edges evaporated

With each muse of sound

Capturing the necks of mountains

And her love knew

When she grew warm

Water could hardly contain

Her steaming rise

But against the world of noise

And clamoring souls inching for their

Fifteen minutes

She must have appeared a wilted flower

Bent at the neck

She didn’t fit with brick and mortar

Reducing days to races, tests, competitions

Her nourishment always lay in your arms

Twisting like plankton, dancing in sea spray

Stitch

nude-woman-in-river-monica-and-michael-sweetShe left

like a thread

pulled through muslin

her pillow smelt

of the push of hair in night

turned in bad dream and

from me for so long

I had

held on

the capsize of our ship

drowning us both

outstaying oxygen to

feel her return

how she used to

take my hand in dark

placing it where she felt

the most

there is a varnished gulf

a painted arroyo

starched land thirsting for renewal

lapsing between us

and it will not be with me

her eyes have lost their glitter

when she turned

it was with the flat gaze of someone

who had already

closed that chapter

bought her ticket

and was reaching for the next

like an arrow

driving its way into my chest

and out again

the feeling of quills and feathers

pulled free by strung force

a sound of cascading hurt

almost like the world sighed

in the room that was once ours

by the violet light of afternoon

where I lay watching her move

in green light, the weight of dew

like words without meaning

I tore myself to pieces

unable to let go

of the ache she left

in her shattering wake

as pulling stitches when healed

will always feel

like something whole

is breaking