Five Poems

Borrowed Woman

In the beginning love was near androgyny
threatening to unfurl myself,
nerve unkempt, flyleaf hands.

I could have rented Rome, could travel
every southern climate and still
there would be Italies to see.

If I pretend you have not changed,
indiscernible as green
from the once bronze, what then.

If I say the season for missing is over,
the wisteria done winding, what I mean is
there will be no thou of me.


It is almost summer in the asylum
By the sea, the room full of dunes
Will be inhabited, twinflowers
Thriving in snow will die here.
Still I came. Once I lived with
the undertaker of an afternoon.
Refusing him, I fed a hell-
Colored stray. She was so particular,
Tongue to my palm, a promise.
Let me be ruined better, let me
Be dreamt by a stranger removing
My hand. I was the wave, was never.
Now I hang my desire, undressed
On the damp terrace, where everyone
Who watches watches privately.

Fever in a Lazaretto

When you pull the white strand

From the lobe of dream

Where nobody parts your hair

You parch awake reaching for salt

The glass too dark for thirst.

A moonflower shutting open

You are almost orphan.

In the room where they say

Only the young roam

You stamp your hooves to loose a god

A kettle whistles for nobody home.

Bat wings pinned to light

Almost fly again in your eye

And the wishes you never

And the others you will

Burn and forget they are burning.

The Headless Woman
Opens Her Sleeve

Where is my California now,
the manic poppies,
the cape made island by fog?

I know the blue eventual,
a Switzerland
cold with alp and globe thistle.

Would lose my head again
to keep my spine intact,
would seal the throat a while

to feel a little vigor of my tongue.
Speechless, I’d seize the scalpel
and circumscribe a moon.

Kept in the mountain’s thin heaven
by fear of wandering down
toward origin and tide,

in a mantle of snow,
no northern life before,
I last a candle-while.

The Intimacy of Volcanoes

They told me to stay away from the sill
But I raised the pane and slipped one sparrow
Black and shivering into my mouth. I kept it there all evening,
Wetting its wings on my tongue, letting it peck at the vault
Of my throat. I could taste the color of lava,
Contagious and bitter. An hour when light goes
And the room grows a wall and even wood
Becomes restless. It wept in the middle of my mouth.
It sharpened my breath into little teeth
For knowing. It was loveless. And I would not have
Trusted anyone. After, I was thirsty all the time.

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