The Cage

With me, your body, the cage
in which you live, is safe.

Though your dark bird desires
freedom, it will not leave

its opened gate, your wings
black and twisted. And when

the night slips between us,
like a glove between the trees,

I will be the one to sing
to you of sleep.

What We Lose

No matter what they tell you,
we have lost nothing. Every evening,
they say: we are deprived of light,
even though the stars kneel before them.
In the morning, they raise their heads
with anguish for the night. Even as
the roses are outside blazing in sun,
they weep. Is it the nature of man
to slice the throats out of birds
and expect them to sing?


I cannot sleep. Like a coat
without its buttons, the cold keeps
creeping in. But I can say "I love you"
if I don't really mean it. When
I was young, I thought I knew
what love was. Now that I'm older,
my vision is poor, my heart is
freezing and what I thought I knew,
I know I don't. I walk on another
plane as if the light is fading,
as if the only fire is distant stars.
Now, I'm more like a cracked chipped
boat who sits alone on the same beach
it used to bravely launch from.


You're Beautiful Today

Someone wrote: I'm tired
of being human. Do you think
the wind wants to be inconstant,
dying down to nothing but a breeze?
Does the swan appreciate its two
black eyes or being white? And wolves,
always hungry, thin and lonely?
Who tells the trees: you're beautiful
today or stars: I like your shiny jackets?
I'd rather be human than a jackal.


The Hammer

Before you bring light
into this house, there must
be a window. In the evening,
a moth dreams of flame, a horse,
another pasture, a child of
a sweet and giving father.
Someone waits behind a wall
of sleep, afraid to use her hammer.

The Law of Things

Night, filled with black sludge,
oppressive only if you see it
that way. Not so, the chocolate
brown shadows dancing barefoot
on the granite graves.


Fast decaying,
eroding down;

what is left?

The part of
fire that crackles
like particles

of dust. Like

wheat husks, useless
as they seem, retain

the shape of what
they held, turning

in the shadows to
gold and mottled green.


In a world made of angels,
there's little room for
the most-important people.

When we get up from a chair,
there is only space. A space
that waits for someone-else

to sit.


Life, what have you brought me
today? Like the shallow recesses
of a shell, a speechless whisper
in the ear: redemption.

In Sinu Abraham

Steep slope of mountain, snow
perfect as the bosom of a saint

but colder, secretive, silent.

I must learn to forget myself,
to be untouched, quietly joyful

like morning's light, slipping
between glittering ridges,

who has suddenly forgotten
where it came from.

Phantom Pains

A troubled father begets
a child with no arms. See
how the sockets reach to
touch the damaged.

The Plummet

O come, my heart, quick
and easy slipping down,
your unsteady footing;

I left you to the ghosts.

You are cruel to speed
my fall with your noble
beating. It is only with

my desperate claws, I save
myself from hurtling
towards destruction.


Too Much Love

Hard, where the light
stands still; so long
the shadows have neglected
the flower. Too much love
burns the petal.

Catching Joy

Why is it easier to be sad?
There are so many joys in life,
though some escape us... still,

with an open mouth it should be
effortless to snag one.

A Haunting

At the bottom of the sky,
a dead spider. Of the web,
the grave is much alike.
No more dreams of fly.

Terrible Child

Is it me- this tragic
poison, small overgrown
garden, terrible child?

I've seen evil like
a raging bull gaining
on the stable boy.

These are divisions in
the soul, benevolent or
malicious, complete, fragmented,
infinite and measurable;

mine is more calamitous.

Spilled Milk

Don't cry over
broken Christmas

Sonnet Sleep

The effortless gift of dream,
if not desire, then good
or lovely things-

sweet, black
goddess of night

steals in capturing
the purpled city,
its dim-lit towers,

its silent bodies.

Each mountain's wings,
saffron-flowered robes,
sleeves of arrested light

sleep's drifting motion

loose as longing, closed as
smoked-stained eyes

identical to breathing
lightly, lightly fall.


The landscape is changing,
grows over me, through me;
it does not honor who I am.

A family means walking
alongside other people
who become landmarks-

a fire on the ridge,
the shrill cry of
darkness calling
its progeny,

a worn white flag.

So we recognize
three things:

lightening rarely
strikes twice;

birds migrate
to the same grounds
late season,

thirdly, the strength
of light surrenders
to each evening.

Winter Lyre

Heavily, in forests
sound glances off trees
and the cry of the lyrebird
cast from the reed bed,

knife-like, finds its way home.

Near the lake, cushions
of weed, perfectly voiceless,
anchor cat-tails like wingtip
to crow; heavier still,

sky's speechless solemnity
pulls down the snow.

A Person Who Practices Nudity

Crown, new growth, golden,
ruby, green. What King designed
such perfect jewels that shatter
in a silver sun! If I were flower,
such as these, I'd be profoundly
naked, beautiful & gracious.


The Furry Swan

I've connected to something I have
empathy for. It's eyes are yellow.
I had been looking for a certain person
who could never love me- a father.

As I live in flesh, the soul is
elusive; truth more so. Remember
fairy-tales of the big bad wolf?
Un-truth. Wolves are more like

swans in coats of fur.


What I Want For Christmas

Mermaid hair and wings
the size of a buick.
Blue eyes, a smile like
snow, a dress like summer.

Hands and feet of an Indian
princess, a diamond on my forhead.
Oh and love as unfathomable as
the moon, un-imaginable as heaven.


Born by accident,
she slipped and fell

into a small vessel
the size of a coconut;

an unintentional embryo.

She told herself "hey, it's
all one thing". She meant

that walking through an open
door or spreading curtains to

catch a glimpse at the waiting
crowd was just like passing

anonymously through ones life.
Finish this one thing before

you move onto another.

Ash and Blood and Roses

We want to believe. We are
forced to believe when burned
by fire. The body, a human torch,
the soul, gasoline, the flame
is God. And how we learn to pray
when captured in the enemy's grasp,
the war before the war, the beasts
of chase, our head between their jaws.
Even God can smell the ash and smoke
and blood instead of roses.



Winds knocked down
the young cypress tree,
snapped its neck, pushed it

to the ground littered
with leaves the color of
blood, moss and honey.

Ants, whose singular thought,
to gather the amber beading
on its broken back, hurry towards

the glue of slow, sweet death.



Black sheep, dry branch, middle child,
un-natural wreckage. she knew all things

came in two's: waiting and absence,
wall and chair, bridle and rein,

darkness and the man that brought it with him.

She remembered dark birds flying overhead,
night and rain, gallop of the quarterhorse,

hooves pounding, rushing desperately
to breach the pasture gait.

The Light Within

All night the headlights flashed
through the window, warning of things
to come, of things that have rhythm
and then suddenly stop.

Who is this woman who dreamed
she was taken before she was taken?
Who is this woman who knew that her life
would be like headlights streaming

in through motel curtains?

Sometime near midnight, the neon sign
flickered and dimmed swallowing light.
She rolled over away from him, breathing
in darkness and choked on her sins.

Wake the Wolf

Wolf, I woke you! I am but
tremble in your hunting prowl

like a fierce-eyed horse, remember how
I rode with you to battle. Now, you cling

to hollowed brooks, fern across
your handsome brow; the smell of soil

in your sharpened claws. How I wish
my human hands, useless as a ghost

could follow you through forest, field
and rivulet, your midnight gallop.

Outlasting Moths

A season of antiquity, the marrow
of a long thigh bone, life gnawed
thin by large grey moths.

See how light continues
to stray through each
worm-eaten portal-

the exact point at which desire
enters and exits the body.

Survives its journey long after
roaring wings of nocturnal insects

have fallen quiet.

The Burning Swan

We are evenly matched-
sky, water, grayest cloud

the color of swans. All
your colors immerse me.

Silence, the sound of
water surrounds us,

destroys us like

the swan, deceived
by geography swims

to a furthest point,
drowns violently

all its burning
feathers screaming.


So it comes again
like a hand
beneath the skirt-

tender, pointless

or freshcut grass
severed at the head

flat and toothless.

Deeper down,
blistered waters

ripple in the well.

Stratum (the world as I see it)



sour bulb-



Spare the Trees

I am here without promises.
My brother lost in the city
without his shoes. I cannot bear

to watch the light fall
from such great heights.

When we were safe, when we
were children, my brother's face

reminded me of sapling skin; now,
like tempered metal, cold, hard
and faithless. I'm not afraid to die;

I fear to be its witness.

One can only hope the start
of winter spares the trees.

Mystery and Longing

1. Longing

Truth within web
is spider, hungers

for larger prey
than flies-

how it dreams
of hornets, hummingbirds
and horses

trapped in sticky thread.

2. Mystery

Dragon ate Man
without a fork;

how strange, nature
consuming its mysteries

without utensils.


I am finished with rivers
and roses and light,

the one-eyed moon, the large
embrace of sky, even the sweet

mysteries of night, I will
not re-visit; instead,

a small grey stone
placed carefully
in its tiny jar [alone]

to remind me
what we're made of.

What Lies Beneath

They say if you stand
in a field long enough,
you'll understand the flower

like a motionless eye
in a field of eyes or mouths
in fluted collars.

I cannot seem to be grateful
for beauty, even when it finds me.

Only the circling birds admire
the grace of what lies hidden

beneath them.

The Iris Garden

I would remain outside
your circle. A little secret,
a poisoned bird. I have forgotten

the difference between
something strange and
no place on earth.

I have better things to do
than die unfinished.

When I step away, a leap
in the dark, all growth
becomes your opinion.

I have risked the invaluable
lesson of flower, the myth of
moss & elms, the unlikely alliance

of earth and flesh.

Not an easy decision
to remain concealed or lie
like death between the hills.

Loss darkens the will
in the way, opaque as petal
and just as beautiful.

Dressed & undressed, I have
been faithful. Standing in
the middle of an iris garden,

purple as skin with yellow eyes.

The Skylight

Look up. Made of
glass and wood.

Chipped paint like the
slates of an old barn.

A small square hole
of sky that pulls us

out of our sorrow.
At night, it frames

the stars; a little
box of dream.

The Self

All life long
we search for it.

During the day and
part-of the night,

we hunt for it.

We whistle for it
as if it were a dog;

scream at it as if
it were an errant child.

We ask the soul
"where is it?" as if

it could tell us.

The lost cannot find
the lost, the blind

can only imagine
the light, the deaf

cannot hear its
thunderous footsteps.


The Music Box

We're seeing things that are not real
like love. A few more times, slow but
surely, we see it again; we are not
convinced. Like that tiny, pink
ballerina pops up in its music box,
her dancing slowly, surely stops.
How can we admire what requires
winding up so much?


The Knot

A long rope, life,
both ends twisting
like a noose while
we grope, desperate
to unwind it.

It has been said, death
is a knot tied by our own
hands but it's more like
a quick jolt upwards
into sudden darkness.



Any creature alone in the night
has my heart; the wild mouse
gathering twigs for her nest
on feet quiet & small as spiders.
Her worth in this life, significant
as any star or purple cloud; she sees
the moon, her constant night-light
as beautiful- the same way we do.


The Match

He described Hell
as a lit-match-

"imagine one hundred thousand
times the fire over every inch
of your naked body."

Strangely, it sounded
a lot like love.

The Maker

They were all deceived-
the water, the flesh,
the air. Some things

that should not be
forgotten, crept away.

Our existence became
dead birds, having died
precisely when they were

meant to.

The way a Maker forgets
a creation who has
forgotten Him.



I'm sure I am more afraid
of you, than you are of me.
How do I know this? Have you
ever seen a spider smiling
at a fly?

The Grenade

I dream of self-annhilation.
My head feels like it's going
to explode. I want to pull it off
and throw it at someone.



A crow alighting in slow motion,
a night blizzard in the brightness of
a street lamp, the cry of something
wild from the quiet woods, all
are dark & melancholy. Seizes
the attention of body and mind.
Some are startled, frightened.
Others just see beauty.

The House of God

If I don't look at it,
it can't destroy me.

What delights & comforts us?
Why do we return to drink

from the poisoned stream,
annoint ourselves with tap-water?

How do we live our lives like
electricity in a cardboard box?

Prophecy is golden; reality
is tarnished. Who will be

condemned and who will be
allowed in the house of God?


Of the Eye

I can't describe it;
I'll never be able to.
Everything in my life

like un-recognizable stuff
hidden under a cotton blanket.

Gnawing sounds from
the floorboards as if
the wood is eating itself.

Who wants to know
on a sunny day, they are
just minutes from shipwrecked?

Here we struggle between
denial and death. Shuddered
windows, a small arrow of

light that makes its way
through the quivering eyelid.


Some nights are heavy, pulled down
through darkness like a stone attached
to chain. Who remembers the light,
the buoyancy of joy? Some answers
do not come from memory but must be
imagined like a kite or bathtub toy.
Both float in different elements;
their probability for survival,
I would not know.

The Leper's House

I would welcome you back,
but I have disintegrated
completely. When you walked
away from our storm, the only
thing left was remnant thunder.
On your way out through our garden,
you brushed your hand against
the thorns. It bled then quickly
began to heal. I would welcome
you back but the footsteps in
the hallway are not mine; this
is now the house of a leper.


To Exert an Influence Upon

In a terrible stillness, standing
in the wind, the woods, a patch of
wild lilies, beneath the bluest ceiling,
I found my heart. Imagine the chance
of that, how big this planet, its secret
nooks and crannys, its fragile astronomical
status. And then a bird fell out of
the sky, warm but dead and I thought-
my love has killed it.

When Optimism is Useless

After the accident, they kept telling me
"you're in shock, you're in shock" and I
told them "I was born this way. Tell me
something that I don't know". And so they said
"you're headless". Sha-Bam! no more
bad-hair days!

The Fly

Out of the corner of my eye,
I saw the fly. What a relief!
I'm still alive and not as rotten
as I'd been led to believe.


The day I moved in,
I noticed, first, the hills.
How like love, the faithful way
they enveloped the valley. Then,
I heard the wolf, just one, howling
for whatever-it-wished. Sad, not lonely,
like an unearthly echo you've heard
before, but each time fainter.


Filled with whispering, invisible
things, the soul flutters inside
its shell. If you hold it up to light,
you can see it growing- it's small, gold
head, purple eyes and twisted wings.

And one day, you will rise to find
an empty egg filled with nothing;
each crack proof of loss. How can you
miss what you've never really been?

The Relationship

I put you out of your misery. Something
I had to do myself; I could not bear to
watch you linger. They might say-
she did it for herself. This could be
true. I was bleeding from my ears,
my mouth, my nose; I suffered too.
And then, I turned away, like a dead
woman's eyes shifting upwards, fastening
to its final evening's sky.


Make Music

Speak to me in your real voice;
the one that sings of joy. From
the farthest reaches of darkness,

I'm listening.

Years ago, when we were sorrowless,
our voices were not practiced, selfish
or mature but juvenile and gentle. Now,
like a dusty violin with rusted strings

we struggle to make music.

Saving Puppies

Life does not come with a bonus prize
but this doesn't stop the masses from
gambling. Fool's gold. Replicas
and antiques. Blue-light specials.

Stop shopping. Use your money to
save a puppy.

Walking the Dog

A small gray room, a white window,
artificial light. A black wood
bed. A place to sleep or pray.

What counts more- peace or
restless spirituality?

What is the difference between
you and the lethargic dog lying by
the half-opened door? The answer is:

guilt and faux superiority.

It's not about you, afterall.
There are no strings to pull
the moon into your bedroom or

saddle to ride the sun across
the morning's sky. Remove
the collar from your anxious dog-

go out into the uncertain world.

Looking For

The kind of land, close
to where what-is-missing
hides. You can only see
the sign if you are wounded.

I've done everything I could,
searched gravel roads, sifted
through rubble, inspected the soil
for animal foraging or hunting.

Wrapped in a dirty blanket, below
the sign, were bits and pieces of
what-I-was-looking-for. In the end,
there wasn't enough left of it

to call it valuable.

The Hook

You were made
the seventh day;
all other things
given to you.

This myth and
parable aren't true
but educational.

And one day,
as you walk away,
confident and nude

as you were made,

the spurs and barbs
raked into your back,
my practiced aim.

Why do we love,
how can we love when
love turns into hate?

Ask the worm who
cannot escape when
thrust into its hook.

Don't Tell

Is it about that single, perfect
breath, the first or last? Or is
life a cigarrette, each puff glows,
disappears into a wasted butt?

For the man who hangs himself with
strings of blinking christmas lights,
a rabbit who visciously fights against
the sharp beaked owl, the whispered curses

spoken like a final prayer-

there are no answers, no rare instances
of innocence or loss. The prophet dutifully
swallows his poison, sunlight receding
behind the purpled clouds, he goes quietly

without struggle or inquiry.


Larrissa Szporluk- The Recluse

I found a place to put a bookmark.
Extraordinary! I have re-arranged
so many things, overlooked the rest.
Do you know that feeling in your lungs,
how it catches like a thread and pulls?
If I had to die with just a few words
in my heart or head- I'll know where
to find them.


What is the tiniest thing
you've ever seen? Some might
say an ant. See how it struggles
beneath its dreams. When a man
complains about his life-



"I have failed again" I told
the teacher. "No" he said, "look
at the stars who are dead before
you see them"

The Stoplight

Both silence and sound co-exist
like pity and envy. Surely, there is
a place in this world, where I am
not lonely. Who can can tell you
how many leaves or the number of
invisible stars? Like the color-blind
at a stoplight or confusion the soul
must suffer when the lights go out;
even in my dreams, the door is shut
and no one is knocking.


Something Important

When you talk to yourself,
you're a verbal mirror, a monkey
picking its toes. If you walk
into the midnight woods without
a compass, outside your-self,
your vocal chords frozen by awe,
you might have better luck finding
something important.

Being Human

Or this could be
lovely. Half-light

and poised towards
some distant opening

between skin and sky.

What reaches towards
freedom will not forget;

this is written inside
the small organic vessel

that must be broken like
a wound or hideous scar

before it's understood.

Adrift in space, the sensation
of being unbound, unstrapped

is precisely the meaning
of being human.

Free Fall

Red sky, iceberg, ocean.
Everyday, a stark recurrent
dream. Like life, like floating
in between heart spaces dividing
the helpless from the trusted.

The way I choose to love,
possess then lose it. Now,
comes the free fall, arms
and limbs and sorrow become
a lesson in gravity. When
you stop, you've hit bottom

rise up carefully when
no one is watching.

Boots and Gloves

No more precious, little
words. This will all be
said nude sitting in the
winter woods. From here,
I dream of furs and fire,
of how wild animals survive
the night. The owl, whose
eyes are two full moons
clawing at the stars. And
all the promises I'd keep
if wolves would spare me
or my frozen feet would lead
me back to boots & gloves
and jackets.