Sunday, February 21, 2021

Submerged (A cadralor)

Image from here, photographer and date unknown

I thought I’d be pulling thick mats of wapato from my backyard
bog, but there were no rhizomes, few bulbs. What clung to the
digging fork’s tines—rotting burlap sacks I’d forgotten, jute now
sodden, snake-like. (On the other side of the world, stone-faced
Medusa and her snakes rest underwater in the Basilica Cistern.)

The shudder, as tendrils of eelgrass wrap around my ankles.
It’s the touch of something I cannot see, something benthic
by me, that makes me pull away. (Coney Island, when I was six.
Sharp sand scoured abrasions on my feet, and when I ran to
meet the gray-green foam at the swash-edge, the salt burned.)

(There is a place where time dilates, the way a cat’s eyes do
when its gaze is suddenly fixed on a moth. There is a place
where time cleaves into all its aggregate parts, sedimentary,
granular. There is a place where “when” and “then” and “now”
drain of all meaning, the way a vortex drains a too-full lake.)

The skull spider, above my bed, is hunting. Legs thinner than an
eyelash, longer than my index finger, a slow herky-jerky measure
across the ceiling. Does it see me? I can’t say, but discuss with
myself whether or not to kill it. Whether or not it will scuttle down
the wall, tangle in my hair. (I leave it, dream I'm grafting trees.)

Asked, and answered, with tenderness. What is it I wanted? To
be brave enough to be weak, have the courage of a field mouse
as it waits, so still, hoping the sparrowhawk will miss. To ask for
what I wanted. First to ask myself (and hope not to break upon
the question), then you. Drowning in fear; kissed back to breath.

Sunday, February 14, 2021

Pappus (A cadralor)

It’s a snowstorm, or it was, and
now the sun is setting past our
sight, not yet below the horizon
but unseen. The wind’s made a
lung of tree ice: gray crepitations.

Everything’s been elided by this
snow. First the junco tracks, then
my steps, a few gone deep where
snow-crust broke under my boots.
Even these words now blow away

as does my heart, from deep red
to something pale, untethered, it’s
adrift the way dry snow falls, the
way a dandelion pappus floats and
tumbles once its seed’s dropped.

Wayfinding, as the twilight settles in,
tinting the blown drifts methylene blue.
An open question, as I’m lost again:
what is it that I’m bait for, or a trap for?
The blue, now darker, now black.

A pause. My breath—the slow cadence like
yours, I recall, as you drifted off into warm
sleep next to me on threadbare blue sheets.
(Not indelible—a fugitive indigo, so mutable,
weightless as dandelion fluff or a snowflake.)