Les terreurs d’une nuit

In the dark when you cannot see well

and squint futile

shadows take on recollection

you are, again, that child

wide-eyed and awake in night

seeing monsters configure themselves

at the foot of your bed

and maybe

climb on in.

Time is definitely female

a circle and not a line

she curves backward

like a hungry snake

devouring her tail

she dives forward

impulsively, unknowingly

as if she too

is unseeing.

Though decades pass

we speak still in the dark

in the voice of a child

surging from within us

bile, relief, sweet, salty, sticky fingers

eating the last of childhood

forbidden to those who

no longer grow upward

only inward, if they are

lucky.

I have lain in many beds

with lovers, sometimes alone

standing in, for absent friends

memory like a scar, whispers

near and far, recollection a drumbeat

solace in stillness, the cliff you walk to

without seeing its drop.

It always scared me to hear

the sounds of night dance around me

in abandonment

though more than anything I wished

to join in

their unseeing merriment

as if by releasing my fear I could

inhabit a deeper rest.

Pesadilla

retrato-sobre-la-pesadilla-de-tener-quintillizos-gana-premio1Dreams

when they turn ugly

are the more familiar landscape

and taste real in their message

though I drive them out

like wolves from the lambs gate must

be refused

prophecy or fear demands

we turn the taste of metal in our mouths

wondering which alchemy

holds the pick

to let us out of this clink

wrists accustomed to confine

sometimes I climb inside the nightmare

looking for signs and meaning

did one mind really create this world?

why am I so talented at weaving

the wrong perspective and

so weak in my try out for cheer?

was it the day I was left alone

to forage and forget how to be

one of you

or in wandering too far from the path

did I eat poison and lapse into a sleep

from which I am still part?

is this real or

do the hands of my foes

restraining wakefulness

feel the heavier and familiar both?

for we learn to grind our own grain

the sounds the pain

separate the chaff from the seed

who is and who is not

trust the mask

trust the god

trust the cat who sphinx like will

scratch and spit

they say women have no sisterhood

and circumcision can rent our heat

they veil us and shave us bald

we stand in our sagging against the merit

and scald

I recall once hearing a woman berated

for not sucking deep enough

without needing to see

I felt her knees ache, her back bend

her neck like a wilted flower

given out of obligation not affection

it taught me

to suck long and hard

in hope I could

remove the stopper holding us down

bursting we’d climb

out of our bottle

genii’s in rags

what would the world do if

men became pregnant and jin

held the whip?

what would the world do

if women no longer tore at each other

with blackened nails?

what would the world do

if I learned the way home

and nightmares were left to fringe

the lonely woods beyond

where crows pecked the gloat

exulting in their horror

what would I do

if I woke up whole

and climbing out of a sun filled bed

went downstairs to breakfast

and there you were

your arms out, your knives dull

sitting at the table set for all of us

Time

Rabarbra or Wife Engel picking Rhubarb via WikimediaThis place called time

tastes like rhubarb pulled from dark earth

washed too quickly

holds the grit

and fervor

my grandma says

coal and dirt protect the child

from disease and rancor

but will they erase? I ask

the tenor of nightmares brushing

thin window panes at dawn

before first bird call wakes

the timorous

for fear

can come in the unexpected moth

hitting light and dying upside down

bearing fangs

or in an accumulation of loss

seeking refuge in cooling pipes

when the world sleeps

are we lost then?

to the debris of ourselves?

making masks of highs and lows

as mountains would cleave themselves

into castles

I would like I told her

to be a badger or a fox

stealthy and unseen

beneath hedgerow of cast offs

wild and lost in retreat

among spun floss of highlands

where moss turns aubergine and dries

into purple air

once I saw a skull bleached into chalk

more could be said of its expression

than the world of scraped chairs

and reluctant mouths downcast in an effort

not to betray themselves

when they pulled me from the weeds

daubing calamine for poison ivy and

salt on adhering slugs

I asked they leave me

just a moment more

to turn into a hollow

instrument awaiting its pluck

in the warmth of an

empty room