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.

Advertisements
Standard
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.

Standard
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.

Standard
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.

Standard
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.

Standard
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.

Standard
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.

Standard
Capturing Myth, Introspect

Tantalus

Frightened by learning to live
in vacuums,
hunger is a result
(I am told)
of punishment and penance,
paid humble.
This is why I am kept
spinning on the wheel and crucified
by stars, fed
on the nauseous smoke
and the starving laughter.
I love the green season,
when the fruit hangs low and heavy
on the branches
that I cannot reach.
My fingers shake with little tremors,
fault lines in the joints.

Full and aching to burst
like pears ripening in golden skins,
getting fat,
growing luscious,
dripping with gentle amber.
Down crawls my throat,
pricking with want, as if there are seeds
sowed before the frost
that are waiting to be hatched.
Quickly
I swallow them down.
I know all they grow are nightmares
of fevers unrelenting
and deep, deep hunger,
nights unslept.

Blooming dreams surround me and
I cannot touch,
I watch the pears grow from green to gold.
I watch them ripen
and cannot touch;
while the freckles
on their distended skin
threaten to burst, I cannot touch.
I ache for it,
the slow burn,
I do.
The hunger mounts,
something quiet and inexorable,
and I lie in the waters
I cannot drink,
pears begging for my palm,
my tongue, my teeth,
the hunger I cannot hold.

Standard
Introspect

Boreas II: Meditation

Harsh promises come
on an iron ring,
older than the hills,
Norse blood still hidden
in the runes.

This oath,
doused in a steel sky,
is a miser of spring rain;
this is the kind of grey
that hangs over labyrinthine tombs,
keeping the swamp magic,
marsh secrets,
rituals of
the bog.

Virtue counts fortune
in threes,
finger folded against palm for:
every caw of the raven
every gust of northern wind
every knock on hollow tree,
while the old bones whisper
of prophetic doom and death in dreams,
pushing locks of hair down into
cold water.

Metal from the earth
is colder still,
draped over warm bodies,
left buried
with the rest of the mysteries.

Index, middle, fore
flat
on the heart line,
and Ragnarok on a pine tree
that has seen more of winter
than the sun.

 

Standard