Genetic alterations like cleft chins and widows peaks
Clean white teeth and braces,
Blush and pink watermelon lipgloss,
Handlebar mustaches and biker beards
All for nothing now and how ridiculous.
Behind a mask there’s no way
to flash a smile of gratitude to a shop clerk
or for someone’s kindness in holding
open a door.
We look plastic.
Polarized in soundless shock.
The cranes fly overhead in t-formations
migration from and to places I never visited
And now probably won’t either
Come to think about it,
those birds I knew,
where I’ve been basking in year and year outside
Without the warmth in those million year old spaced.
As sounds of the floorboards let us know
Our short winter days draw nearer
The knuckles crack in my hands
Open and closed alone
I am divided by savage time.For Celia
Bury me amongst the trees
Where redwoods overlook the sea
From atop a crossed mountain
Where my body will quicken
From flesh into sand.
Underneath the needle-bed
Blanket, the fibers of my hair weave
A way through the wind-filled leaves.
Heat my voice with borrowed sun
Which once kissed my cheeks
Where freckles reached to meet.
You now hear my broken chords
Faintly in the the distance unmoored
Tasting the salted shore. Safely clean
I lay down on a million fine grains of sand
Not feeling myself again I repeat
To no one: I am an empty vessel.
I’ll still wake every morning
Habitually, my hands still sleep
Parting the fitted sheets aways,
Long gone I still reach after you.
I am the water, then the dew
Maturing into a pinguid mist.
The palms clap and sway to
Conduct the band at noon
To play a song of our bequest.
The hour’s imminent.
Time to ride a wicked dream on
A silk weaved carpet twisted
With last night’s ghostly breath.
Come take inventory of my remains
Should the tree mark me no more.
The lumber that’s become of me
Taken over by the shore. I am a house
Now – shelter for a family to whom you
Lost me once again. My soul holds up
The walls now, my legs hammered
Into floorboards, arms encircle
Each bedroom where the dormers rest.
My fingers lace together to build
A painted white front porch,
That’s my hips now a swing
Hung there, under the eaves.
Look up to see my head holds high
A roof; my back’s now the front door
My eyes frame All the windows, my heart beats
In the kitchen. My birds left the
Forest knowing where my mouth now sings
And the woodpecker that lived inside my trunk
Hollowed out my attic in the spring.
Let me stand strong and steady
For at least a hundred years.
By then, long gone, you built your own
And our lives live on, unworldly yet eternally.
Looking down at the rubble of what’s
Left of my body in the demolition heap.
What at all might grow from me who once
You buried underneath a tree?
Let me now burn someone’s hands
Someone lit afire from my plight.
It’s cold outside where I once stood
In the trees and dark of night
And I’ll burn vast and luminous
My spirit gives newborn light.
(Dedicated to chemotherapy)
Steal the scent of aftermath,
Of rivers, ponds, waterfalls, of
Mangled limp leaves, blown
Around. Fog, water’s mystical state
Lifted the ground up by noon
Do the arithmetic:
What’s left outside after a storm?
Rain leaves its distinct message:
More precisely, less understood
Oily ascension from the earth
Reaches to encounter rising
Mountain roads. Projecting
On a green screen we stop
Acting, instead slowly, slippery,
and wet, waiving goodbye to my
Mirrors from lighthouses beam
A spot where the words hide.
Vast oceans of gray crevices
Foggy and neglected, recollect
Years before, a pear-green sky
Ripened and began blowing.
Curtains beckoning with arms
Waving to the operatives
Waiting for instructions.
No signs yet.
Finally the storm bursts
Through a bedroom door
Met by an unkept little dog
One that came with her name.
“Petrichor.” The memory
Satisfied finally, for
Here’s the word for the oily scent,
Rising up with a heave to hear
Earth’s sigh of relief
When water rises after it falls
And worms rejoice in its muddled
Grounds. Mud made puddling
Mid afternoon humid
A swampy mystery
Finally rests in its ground.