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Sunday, August 02, 2015

Surfeit

The redbirds chit as they chase overhead—
dun-blush girl, blazoned boy. I was up before
they were, scuffling by a harvestman legging
his way (home? to hide?) and listening to my
breath. A jay, a jay yells and drops a feather
at my feet, then laughs: “Made you look!” To
begin under an ink-stained moon as crickets
and peepers shimmer, to end sweat-soaked,
breathless in gold light? Dayenu, surfeit of joy.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Summer Dirge

"Shrine at Covered Wells, Arizona" by Tillman

This bright forge has burnt my heart away.
My thoughts all charred by the sun, calcined
ribs crack as I breathe: too parched for tears,
I’m gutted. And look! Even in a grave, no cool
shade—it’s bleached by the white, hot sky.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Croton

We scrubby little things who do well
where it’s scraped earth and caliche
nod to each other. A squat of prairie
tea, a dash out then back by a spotted
whiptail lizard, a bustling caterpillar
hunter (Calosoma affine) as black as
the night I usually wander in, and me,
moving through the understory, the
slightest wind carrying the croton’s
homespun incense: resin and dust.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Iftar

Photograph by ESO/B. Tafreshi, 2012

This is the time we break our fast, when
the sun at last weakens and the waxing
moon rises. I reach into clouds, part the
darkness to take you, o pearl, o moon, in
my hands: an illusion, but your light on
my fingers is no less precious. The first
thing we must do in the dimming is to
slake our thirst; after the long burnt day,
I could drink the mountains dry of dew.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Botanical

Crinum Americanum L., by Alex Popovkin, Bahia, Brazil

I think about those people of mine, those who sewed
uncut gemstones into their hems as trader’s insurance,
those who went with slaves and brocade and sharp steel,
who brought back silk and aloes, those whose names I’ll
never know. Did the needle of loneliness prick them as they
embroidered their tales? Did it prick the way it does me, as
I stitch myself to a place by way of the names of flowers?

Saturday, July 04, 2015

Scotoma

"Scotoma," Samira Yamin, Video Projection.

Look at the sun long enough, and all that’s left
is a scotoma of shadow and radiance - not the
face of a boy who was made to watch as you
murdered his family, not your own face (and who
would dare remember you as you’d been, when
once a child?) I know someone who told me the
things you’d done, and I laughed at how stupid
you were, thinking you could eat Death and live.
Is it so hard to believe the simplest mistake is what’s
left you blind now, thinking you’d gaze at the sun
through the darkest glass and steal its glory? You
who all those ghosts stalk, as your blindness grows.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Stalking

Red-Spotted Purple Butterfly, Jay Bock

It’s those little deaths piling up on my doorstep
that break me down. The mud-stained yellow of
a magnolia warbler, eye half-shuttered, one wing
broken and spilling bones; the now unreadable
parchment of what was once a house gecko. All
these small wild things stilled, and no witnesses
save for butterflies who’ve come to sip what’s left.
I’m fit for sadness small enough to carry in hand,
but know bigger grief waits patiently, stalking me.