how many inhalations, how much weight.
can you mend the barren,
notes of its hair
ride its ass
back into itself?
at the root of your tongue
it is there
a thing folded neatly on an altar:
a thief thieving
a picture window
shards of glass slip throats—
slipping a body, a car, a plane,
a lie cleaves
cleaving the violin strung loose to catch low
sky the color of leaving—
out of orbit
she was unseated
she was made to unseat.
I were ancient.
Say you throw the act
for the fragrant idea of
would be percolated sex
or factless wanting
for erased hands
the torpid fuckery
for the space between give and lack
for the surrealistic two-car garages
or 29th floor walk-ups or
for the bottom part of years
the soporific mouth
for the body turned over
mummy, soldier, infant.
Say you miss the
chiefed out on some concrete
you could do worse.
Box of Bone
I am wrong as a cup.
unmoving, inelegant, ripe
in your cave
remembering their roots
the undone cries—
rock empty curve of despair
our the mood is ungodly
we moor want to want
unmake the box of bone
walking zero inches
nearer to it.
a taut fracture
taught how loss
takes or reports to take.
misses your voice—
hands soft piano
keys I cannot
line of breath
boatwind your cloud
to my ear
so I can hear
of my palm,
the sky unbuilt—
Sailboats race on the river outside the ICU. Wind like
breath through a hose blows 50 square yards of sailcloth into bladder-shaped
yokes, sliding arabesques across the waters tense surface. The daughter breathes
warm steam clouds against the window panes. It is cool
in these early morning hours.
One is awake and the others are in a thin sleep half
mile away when the phone rings. Children—adults drunk with fatigue—scattered
in their mothers apartment. The boy—the brother—answers the phone. It
sits on a low shelf across the living room from the couch where he reclines.
Made in Shop Class when he was a kid, the crude pine shelf holds photo albums
labeled by decade. The phone plugs into the plaster wall, its chord long,
coiled, and brown.
Earlier, the mother
slept like the dead from too much morphine. A daughter lay on the bed next to
hers watching her chest rise and fall for 12 hours. Head on forearm, one eye
following the shifting slope of sheet on her body. Like watching an ocean
swell and dip around its horizon line while lying on a beach, ear cupped by
palm of warm sand.
The mother apologizes
for it taking so long—her dying. For 2 weeks in other countries and
states, her children leave lives and families, eight pets, three
businesses, gymnastic meets, parties, grant deadlines, meetings.
They convince her there is no where else for them to be,
nothing else to do but be there.
The last time
the mother wakes she looks 20 years younger than when she went to sleep. Buddhists
say death is an unwinding, so the children figure they are watching her unwind,
get more relaxed. She is luminous and full of strange power and a far-away
gaze that startles—at once withdrawn and arresting—the room feels
pregnant with the stillness before a hurricane.
Roses stand in a
plastic pitcher next to small yogurt spoons they use to feed her ice. An
L-shaped tray on wheels hovers over her lap. They take turns holding hands, new
intimacy, at first awkward, or backward—who is holding whom?—then a matter of fact. Hands seek hands, after a
drink, a stick, or pulse check. Skin soft like Chinese silk.
A catheter bag
dangles from the side rail, turns colors like a mood ring. One woman who
changes mothers bag is listening carefully to the stories she wont tell her
kids. She has a sudden, great strength and holds the nurses
arm, talks in a girlish high pitch about a guy at a diner by the beach one
night named Reggie. Hes big and
handsome and black and she wanted to go home with him.
Then turning to
look at her daughter instead of the wall, the mother says she has stars in her eyes,
and struggles to push up off the mattress, off the tubes, leaning into
take-off. Ready to rocket away. Ecstatic.
they are washing the world
dont be afraid
they are like
pbbbltltltltdt pbbbltltltdt pbbbltltltdt
out toward snow-