Tankas

My children, children,
there’s applesauce everywhere
but it’s not for you.
It is strange to help someone
grow while helping someone die.

*

Each time I write hope,
the letters fray and scatter.
The hopeful poets
never seem to have my dreams,
never seem to have children.

*

I tell my children
that hope is like a white skirt,
it can twirl and twirl,
that men like to open it,
take it apart, and wound it.

*

I tell my children
that sometimes I too can hope,
that sometimes nothing
moves but my love for someone,
and the light from the dead star.

*

Do you smell my cries?
They come from another place.
The cry comes from you.
Now everything comes from you.
To be empty and so full.

*

I tell my children
that they can wake anything,
that they are not yet
dying. But what do I know?
I know that a mother dies.

*

Sometimes all I have
are words and to write them means
they are no longer
prayers but are now animals.
Other people can hunt them.

*

You don’t need a thing
from me, you already have
everything you need:
the moon, a wound on the lake,
our footprints to not follow.

*

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