Caliche and Other Poems


Caliche

I don’t know how many ways a body can end.
Night is a steady calculus, volitional in its
Grief. What was resolved in all these books on
Poisoned water and child cancer yielded no
Causation. A girl dies from a knot behind her
Spine one after the other and this is confidence
Interval. Page after page, the fanning of money.
Inside a book, the decades-long action group
Ends contorted. I pull a 1968 Life magazine
From its sleeve and read the anger back into
Hippies. Only one agitator at the Dakota crowd
To greet Nixon, thrown from the rally in a
Familiar way. The Santa Barbara oil spill, the
Neglect at San Miguel, dead slick pups between
Rocks. Disappearance is active loss. We lose
The world with deliberate focus. Factory dyes
Bleed into spongy soil for two world wars.
Neuroblastoma mutated already in utero, primed
For footnote. I think about what of us medical tools
Shave off: my uncle’s squamous cell carcinoma, four
Joints of my mother, the remnants of a brother.
San Miguel’s centuries-old root systems remain
In a calcium carbonate cast, the vegetation gone.
Tourists call this a forest but it looks a garden of


Statues of Mary praying every direction for a relief
That cannot come. We can say the sun drenches
Earth with gold. All day, we can say this.


Eat and Keep

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