Sleeping in Winter

Where I came from: outlined
in flames, beautiful
orange-steel cooled in
mother's milk. Open-mouthed
and trusting, circles
of motion and color.

Who I am presently: now
white-chaos, blind, restless,
lived in; traveling
in terror. Making stories
so quickly like wounds
in a car collision.

What I will be: black-rotted,
wood-flesh, collapsed, condensed,
unreal. Earth, hair, bones, nails.
Soil soaked memories. Tree roots
sleeping in winter.


The Sound of Disappearance

What is it that holds you back
from me? I was already yours,

waiting to hear your voice
in a sea of voices, to know

your face as if it were my own,
each habitual trace of your body

an enduring memory.

Now everyday you are moving away
from me, a great bird disappearing

into a halo of cloud; the last sound,
the final sound (I cannot say yours or mine)

a call, a cry or howl.



I have grown down
through the fields
with wooden skin
and crooked bones

concealing where
I've started from.

This mouth of earth
rich as breathing,
salt-wounded, twisted
digging out a passageway

to home, full of darkness
dreaming of a blossom.

Above the weed chokes
the tender vine, ill-willed
unlike the sun and rain
whose bodies glisten like ripples

in a quiet lake and perfectly
disseminate in convex lines.


Against the Tide

Gravity pulled the book
to the floor. Even words
are bound by laws; the teeth
of adjectives and nouns
biting down on paper.

To burn a word, a branding
on the heart, this word defies
erasure, floats on blood,
knows no up-or-down or trips
or falls. Is it our fault

that love will kill us; have
you seen a dead bird fly?

With ink, we write the feathers
of the wing: a mountain top,
a steel-blue sky, a cloud to pierce,
a draft to climb and dive,
a moment when the journey down

turns against the tide.

The Seventh Circle

How much longer will we search? All night,
the blackness cherishes its splendid gifts-

the spotted owl, the thin and hungry wolves,
white-skinned birches where bobtailed deer

graze on clover. But we are kept from paradise
cradled by what-we-are-denied, knowledge of

the light, acceptance of the darkness.

In an open field, at dusk, a falcon hunts
for mouse or rabbit, without a sign, he circles

round and round. Somethings that are hidden
were never meant to be discovered.



Because I love you, the night
disobeys its hidden God, makes
my hands immortal though they hold
the fire. We are grains of fire
crackling to ash. And while

I loved you, the moon became
a jealous eye, a jilted planet
whose beauty was extinguished
by our glowing bodies; what galaxy,
what whiteness shares our wounds?

When darkness comes to kill us,
eats the energy between our thighs,
our mouths, our eyes, a fallen star
travels across the sympathetic skies
and leaves a brilliant arc.



It's hard to stop
the catapalt towards mercy.
Would I be inconsequential
if I were sin-less?

While the spirit knows
who is responsible for grief,
I have forgotten history,
the root, the seed, buried

beneath the symbols.

Of blood and nerves,
I laughed, I danced, listened
to the red-bird singing from
such a distance like blood

leaking from its deep incision.

Now I lie in waiting,
the peace of sky, the rippling
blue-painted pool of ocean creasing
like a worried brow; and I am

solitary, ceaseless,
lifelong dreaming

of being born again.



Inspiration arrives in many forms; why
is mine elusive? Perhaps I do not stop
to look at trees, immune to nature's guile
and grace. Won't you make the rose desist
and drop her poignant beauty; imagine all
the dreamers she would fail!

But you, my little moth-sized bird, you're
neon glittered throat, your vibratory wings;
you are just as fast and brief, nearly hidden
by magnolia stamens. You and I grow wild,
grow secretly into our favorite flower; not
a shadow or a petal misses our departure.


One-Eyed Man

I have a theory; the female
is invented. Like strings or
particles, the body quantum,

the curve of a hip, the white
nest of skin, the animal eyes

grown accustomed to night
like the surface of moon.

Understand, men are cumbersome,
gravity, a heavy hand, dark rapid
heartbeats followed by apnea;

selective creature, a form
of death. One-eyed man,

he holds her anonymous face
as if he loved her.


Auditory Nerve

Between nerves, the gap
is called synaptic; a ghost
raises my heart to his ear
like a conch shell-

what is he hearing?

The actual size
of eternity, the girth of
heaven is far smaller
than we think-

a wax-pale ear canal,
the volume of a heart,
the tunnel of a shell

waiting on the ocean's sand
for someone to raise it up
and listen.


Cracked and Blue

When you greet me, remember
who I am. Because I hold
myself for ransom like a bomb
or tightly structured as

fibers in a crystal

does not mean that I am
ruined. You're such a child
all fur and feathers, a cloud
with bullets in its head.

When I am private, cold
cracked, corrosive, blue
put my body on the coals
to heat my bones.


Surface Tension

Lift, mark, claim
as one's own;

we circle the nest,
nose to the ground
emptied out but taking-

a birds song we hear
then whistle.

Some of us are radiant,
irreversible, galaxies

whirling on naked rims;

others are sliding down
the jagged cliffs clawing

for a hand-hold.

Time Line

Now it's done; the direction
of a body shoved through time.

Gravity, the stress of beauty,
feet walking barefoot on a bed

of thorns, muscles of a mouth
tense as rope, the optic nerve

gulping light, beads of light
running down its fleshy throat.

Look back. Pull the reins.
The clock is running fast,

very fast. See time run. See
it burn. Here is the shadow

where we were born. Here is
the tail of light curving

through the sky. There,
at the end, the teeth

of total darkness
devours its offspring.


Because We Are Inside

But yesterday, the weather
was of heat and sweat, heavy
wool, the air stood still.

Today, the winds swoop down
chilled and urgent, small
spattering of rain tapping

on the terra cotta roof.

Inside, I build a fire;
I have the right to mourn
what can't be saved or changed.

It isn't easy to ignore
the darkness, blackened clouds
or ravaged trees, but here within

the man-made silence, secretly
underneath the mystery of struggle,
another world is born.


Wide-Awake and Weary

I am sleeping. Ceaseless
horizon. The slowness of
a stone. Gray steel bars
of silence welded into night.

It's said there is a river,
black, whose banks are built
from dying stars, waiting
is a boat of bone to take us

where the lifeless live.

I am a sleeper more than
I am wide-awake and weary.
Here is my three-headed dog
who has not seen the sky or sun,

here are my bloodless wings
white and pale as ivory, folded
down. Let me be a memory, a thin
laced curtain, a speck of dust,

forevor sleeping, a child whose dreams
are swallowed by the darkness.


The Existence of Moths

Because I know
we're free to choose
joy or violence

I do not suffer
as I should.

Imagine hovering
above the garden like
mist or moth; the gate,

the high road
filled with stones-

not a bitter path.

What can this mean?
Certainly, the absence
of the heart is flight

and just as quickly,
the carefree moth departs.


Orange Light

If even once I stop
to feel, I am closer

to dying.

A thunderstorm rolls
over the horizon, upturned

my face absorbs its darkness.

I recognize a shadow
in the window; how it grew

then broke apart.

I cannot learn to live
forevor; follow me into

the cold, black night.

In the morning, mountains
in the distance, clouds

dripping orange light.

The Burden

I am confident. I don't need
your symbolisms: a severely damaged
heart, a sick tree, wilting or rotting

there is nothing left but to be courageous.

The accidental cause shattering the stoic
bone, the bright, white light receding
like a burning fume, punishes only those

who least expect it. I will not grieve for

what was meant to be; I will resist it.
Just now, the poplar leaves wrestled from
their fragile stems, all but doomed, twist

and turn, flying in the autumn winds.

Of Stars and Wolves

Look to the wolf for ideas. How to
spend your time creeping through darkness

towards the nimble hearted who will leave
this world in nature's belly.

Once, I believed I was made of stars;
poor, sad shining light swallowed by wolves

each time they howl. And beauty was
a yellow eye that caught the moon,

held it in its claws and mouth,
caught the deer, the shivering mouse,

the wavering gold-throated bird
without a sense of grief or guilt.

Can we help but wonder of visible life
as if the unseen, the subtle illusions

of movement (rustling leaves, distortion
of light, the hidden, invisible parts)

may not exist at all?


A Souvenir

Bring what you have
to the edge of our bed;
your hands filled with stones
and shells- a souvenir.

I have no place
in the natural world,
the world you struggle to
design. See, there are no roots

to grasp the soil, no vertical
rows of blooming vine. Perhaps
I am the fallow field, quiet, cold
and empty. And of my soul, memento

of the passing years, what glory
will it grow, when it is worked
and tilled and planted?


Of Morning, Distant

To be this night,
dark garden of the trees
and stars, this sadness webbed,
a fragile gauze shrinking

in the dying shadows.

Of morning, distant
arc of blue and gold
turns wildly silver-white
as hair, as ice, as wings.

With longing, ripe
and amber as the moon-
to live, shattered as a ray
of light- to die filled

with fire, tears and blood.