What You Mistook as Ultimatum

                At last, a body is not unlike a shelter,


in its purpose: one exists underneath the sky;

the other the sky must move against.

                                                 One preserves, the other
conquers storms, quells

                                the dulled knees in the field.

Laughter takes refuge in bodies no longer

coaxed to move. Nature becomes a thought,

         an afterthought of mice in moonlight. The field

                                                 as house and mother

strands the body blissed between

                                first sigh & final scythe.

To inhabit the world, on a whim, our bodies

                    debrief: whose hands hung that mask,

                                its slung shadow

                    on the wall stretches to lip

                                the mirror in the hall, who?

Wrung taut & tender

                                at the soft play of fingertips,

         we breathe desires,

hard sleep, & old countenance. Despite


our bodies are still: idle & empty, warned

         then welcomed, glass-eyed & mud-drug.

         Swallows tongue song, press

an unbroken bond of sunrise against the dark

                                             ceiling’s slow descent,

         his fading light to become at last a no or yes.

Read on . . .

A Serious Desert,” a poem by Claire Bowman
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