*Image: “Sunset” by John Douglas, 17″ x 22″ Epson4900 Print, 2015
A STORY OF BEGINNINGS
After the wind pushes the weanling
away from its mother, after the night, black
so black it nearly glows, after the ocean’s
million hands fold and unfold,
the young will be less young,
and the old still old.
No birds out today and aren’t you glad? Aren’t you
tired of hearing about such things?
It’s raining and the frogs are out.
A palm frond knifes against the ink black
sky. The deafening knot hides
in the Florida thick.
It’s raining and I see myself:
a sun-spiked dandelion,
a paper boat, a blank page.
The moon’s smile says Let her in.
The pale face of a stranger says Let her in.
The candle’s unlit wick says Let her in.
This is the beginning and the end: this—
a mother’s hands open
and a daughter’s always reaching.
DAESONG-DONG, PART II
After Dylan Thomas
This moonless night
the boneblack foals lope
back to their stalls
to shake their mangled wisps.
The wind tumbles dumbly,
folding and winding
between the unpaved streets
and cobblestoned houses.
How can this place scream ruin?
A pitch-eyed woman lies soft
to dream of lighting lit
love or swaddled salt
hushed between sheets.
Bodies billow like breath
blown through clouded curtains.
I hung them here—
my fingers, slim and birdlike,
making life from the unpainted
canvas. See those ribs? They are full
of words and wards—a wall!
This throat? Begs for the ungloved hand.
These shadows chew light—
the sun a smothered blaze.
How this place screams ruin.
A tired oak drags
her budded branches against
a doleful patch of dew-
glazed bluegrass. The salve-
slow hymn drives sweet
babes bedded from tumbled
sheets to lamb-warm sleep,
their eyes fastened like the dead.
THE STARS ARE DISTANT AS MOTHERS ARE
All these years I thought of you
as beautiful and gracious,
not groping the pockets of men,
bit-lipped, the wolf’s slavering jaw.
This veil-pulled life: dusk drunk
my hand heeling my temple.
Look how the bathwater cups
the silver moon. How the crows
roost, coal beak to coal plume.
There’s too much throat
around my consonants. The soft-rolled r
nicks against the back of my teeth.
Sometimes, my too-wide mouth wraps
around the wrong sound,
the tendons of Korea too tough
to chew & deadens my tongue.
My mother left before she could teach me
the warble in my own name,
in the Palace of Articulation.