In my worries I am plummeting down steps,
industrial, medieval, breezy welcome
stairs like little landings where a foot could catch.
In some nightmares my breasts are so misshapen
they are no longer mammalian, quite,
this inevitable evolution we can’t call progress.
Those mornings I wake exactly as I fell,
a little upright, on my back, static and sweaty
and always next to you. Call it relief
to find everything as it was, though one summer I fell up
and up and up and it was a good lesson
in the sham of gravity.
And once, when we found ourselves in another summer
overlooking an entire city, we thought
we couldn’t get older or higher,
though in my worries I am both, and falling.
originally published in A Public Space
I am strings from my garment, suddenly loud,
a sight with more skin than hands. I went to each home
with you for a very long time. Up in a bungalow
with ankles and tender, you sleep from substance
so goodnight sweetheart. Let me glance at your neck,
pasty and frail. Let me think how easy it would be.
Forget the guesthouse where you struck me to the floor
in spinning beverage: inevitable. I am still a gypsy,
a bloodsport, a worm. One hundred essays on the same subject.
But look my beloved at the quilt I made; I didn’t
lift a finger. Shall I address, undress, haul you back
from air? Are you perhaps yet dead? You and me,
we’re sticky and frantic, we’re tired but I, being more
grown with my own roof above, can sleep now too,
knowing if I left, taking my hands with me, yours
would still be there, unsure, unstrung, and choking you.
originally published in jubilat
Poem for a Daughter
Here’s a dustbowl drenched in eucalyptus
in the middle of nowhere
where I’ve been some dozen times.
Here’s a fire hydrant, brilliant, swallowed
by the shrunken brush. I hug it like it loves me,
lick it like it’s mine. I’m itching
and aching and bored. I need you to be born.
Make new what was never new, make it rain.
I’m killing bees with my bare hands.
I’ve ridden all the stable horses.
When I use a canteen
I love the word canteen.
I have lived on earth for thirty-one years now.
At twelve my legs gave on the bend.
At twenty I held a posy so close I hated it,
panicked, gave it away to ghosts.
Today you are inside me, promising,
swelling us, what kind of miracle
sitting down would be.
On the next hill there’s a movie set
or a pep rally, it’s hard to tell in the shimmering heat.
It’s all tumbledown menacing, maybe a clothesline.
Windbreak branches ornament with intent,
litter the ground with their gum.
We aren’t native to this land.
It’s time to plant what is. It’s time to go home.
originally published in Guernica