Introspect, Weaponized

A Bad Year for Apricots

These fruit trees
are no good.

All your days waiting
for the summer harvest
have been spent
in sweat,
while dust clings to your skin,
all your wounds stinging.

What do you do with fruit
that rots before it ripens?

After the rain,
the water stayed pooled upon dry earth,
stagnating the air.

Your tongue
still seeks moisture
from last year’s stones. 

Five feet underwater,
dead trees churn the lake up
with algae:
this is how seas
become swamps.

This is how we move
when we cannot move;
this is what you do
after you die.

It is a bad year for apricots,
and a bad year for love;
a good year for gasoline
and ash.

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Capturing Myth

The Laurel Tree

To let the woodland
swallow me whole
into velvet silences,
I let my skin dry
of rivers.

All I wanted
from the very beginning
were mountain forests,
and quiet.

But the freshwater
of my veins
still sings
when thunder rumbles
            waking the roots,
            waking the worms,
            waking the pores of the earth.

Rain: the world
is suddenly shrouded
in silk-grey mist. Charmed,
quiet grows
as ozone blooms.

Fish out of water,
mermaid in a forest,
I am hungry
for watery air.

When quiet comes,
grab it. Silence
is in leafy caves,
a roof over the head,
a wall against the back.

The Sun is quick to take
his foreign bodies.

He is quick to dry out worms,
breaking cobwebs,
burning trees.

He is quick to things
he is not promised.

And I,
I will drown in rivers,
I will petrify myself
before I let him take
my suffocating limbs.

I will grow a roof
over my own head
before I give up
my silence.

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Retrospect

When It Calls, You Answer

Beneath your eyelids:
the measure of each drop of blood
as it counts
against honeycomb
and stone-baked bread.

You think of wine drying
five thousand years ago,
yesterday’s fingers brushing
powder from a cistern
that hasn’t been touched
in centuries.

What happens,
then?

You cannot reconcile
with smoothness:
honey to lure the wasps,
your teeth,
your hungry tongue,
back to the cave and its
empty cistern.

How long do you vanish for?

When it comes
with wine-stained fingers,
to swallow you up,
kissing your scars,
erasing the body
you once knew
to be true,
you run.

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Capturing Myth

Ogygia

The truth is,
Calypso is tired of
daydreaming about the man
who kept her wet
for seven years,
his wife’s unspoken name
an afterthought
branded on the beach.

It blurs into one long moonlit night,
silver sand sticking to his back,
opening the well
to an ocean of desire
meant to be swallowed
in a moment.

It’s one thing
to surrender,
even willingly.
But
the men who suck her dry
go on to feast with gods
while she lives in shadow
and only remembers.

The acrid want
to be tasted
evolves to a need,
dancing like a fever.

Someone must watch her:
as the sea foams her dress
and clings to her breasts;
as her nipples darken to
a sweet night air;
as she sings in the pools
and dumps water over
her dark hair.

She wakes up once a month
with wetness on her thighs,
feeling like a peach
so ripe
it would burst
if only you might look at it.

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Capturing Myth

Eurydice

I chased you
through valleys
and fir-crested gorges,
as if you brought something sweet
into the air.

Remember
that hot,
Mycenaean sun?

I would dance nevertheless,
lily and clover slapping my ankles,
as you sang
and sweat
on the lyre.

Through high summer
we reaped our own harvest,
words falling off your strings
like honey,
fat and dripping.

If I was hungry,
you fed me
a single piece of want,
and watched the saliva
pool under my tongue.

I don’t blame
the snake in the grass
at all.

I think of that harp,
your fingers closing my eyes
and tipping my hair back
in a shudder:
the ankle,
the breast,
the tail.

Mouths must connect somewhere,
I suppose,
when hunger is stronger
than poison.

[…]

Tamer,
the waterfall gushes and falls silent
as a three-headed dog sleeps at your feet,
and gods who have seen trees cut
for your first ancestor’s cradle
weep.

You lure in the deer,
you charm the tortoise,
you even seduce
the ibis and the nymphs.

I am quiet
in the dark,
my fingers balanced on wet limestone,
watching you
entice anything with a heart
as tears fall
from your eyes.

When you leave
with the shadow of your guilt
trailing behind you
like an ending,
I do not follow.

I listen for a different music.

I do not think you have heard it:
the song the rock sings
as she tempers herself,
the melody of an ocean
on the other side of the earth,
drowning the singing
of the lyre.

I listen,
and I do not dance.

Standard
Introspect

Winter Meditations

It comes like a hiss
between teeth:
history before burial,
monolithic pressure
crushing us to diamonds.

Skin against sheet,
callous against tile,
rock against an open back.

Everything falls silent but
the loud sparkle of the city
when I see the omens in your palm,
omens in the fog,
omens in the feather
floating in the water.

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Capturing Myth, Introspect

Artemis At Target Practice

A sickle-faced moon
for the sallow night.

Slow in the dark,
quiet as a page,
the nest in my damp bones
remembers
until my arms shake
like the leaves
threatening fall.

Orion,
broad-shouldered, starry-eyed,
tries to hide,
creeping beneath starving branches,
plump with harvest.

His hands touch the wood
as he passes thoughtless,
scraping at the scars.

I think of an earlier night,
and a moon so fat I licked it
off the sky,
bow footstep-heavy,
eye arrow-sharp.

My arm shakes,
the arrow sings.
I open my mouth
for the moon.

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Retrospect

Ocean Admits You (2)

Ages ago you found a well in me;
I only noticed
when it flooded,
pooling over the beaches of the Lethe

I lean in and in
and in,
and the crest swells,
breaks

Ages ago
I licked the salt from your tongue,
your smile hard on my mouth,
me soft, eager

This is what happens
when the river floods.

You go belly-up
like a dead fish
drowned.

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Introspect

Yeva

I would rather kiss than learn, or better:
do both,
searching for the forbidden master,
the unclaimed god I want to satisfy,
while he denies.

I want the strength that comes with
ripping roots from the ground,
the sweetness
that comes from biting into
an unripe apple.

I want to know things,
and not grow them,
to leave shaking in my wake
(undisturbed myself) and
watchful.

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Introspect

Meshitihu

We were like Moishe splitting the ocean,
outrunning the darkness,
flying
and triumphant.

My mother carried me
across the world,
putting my feet in the soil here
to grow beside the maple.

You know
we did try, the ice skating
and snow forts,
canoeing in the national park

grow, make your roots, your brilliant leaves
this is for you
this is for you
this is for you

But somehow
the salt of the Caspian Sea found me
a dream away,
left me
with a craving
for apricots and tragedy.

Me in this maple soil:
buried with the bear skulls and wolf jaws,
buried with the arrowheads
buried with the goose shit
buried like a thief on stolen land.

Why won’t you grow, supplications of a mother
who waters with her own
hot tears

I put the Canadian bone in my mouth,
scraped out the marrow,
found myself wanting.

salt from the sea, snow on the mountain,
apricots dropping like stones

I dream of splitting myself,
body here,
blood singing for the apricot,
but leaves with eleven teeth
start to grow beneath my nails.

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