Behind the shelf the occupied heart sleeps
in its little jar–you cannot put your hand
on it, so it occurs to you that you
are haunting yourself. Nonetheless, there is
sweetness somewhere, consciousness like some
confection churned from the labor of
what’s left. It’s pain that’s the true little death.
The things you believed were not the things you
believed in, just your basic crenellation
and arrow slits, light shooting in whenever
you are not shooting out. We could not hear
the tree falling, we heard its aftermath,
like some errant tornado backing up
to fill the spaces it left behind or
you there moving at some spooky distance
from yourself and all your darling tendrils.
This big space I had for you, coterminous
alas with the outer wall where the
patrols are napping or whoring or
conspiring with wolves and beavers, who
suffer as we do upon losing a mate.
Wondering the opposite of looking–
how we could set so much of us aside
only to find it waiting in the lapse.
The first time I was nine years old, I guess,
and Rosie was just six. While our parents
slept it off again, we sat in the kitchen
where one of them had dumped a drawer
onto the table’s sticky oil cloth:
rusty jar lids, frayed lottery stubs,
several snag-toothed combs, rubber bands,
a pair of scissors, a key, a sheaf
of gnawed pencils, grimy Christmas ribbons,
old postcards, lighters, moldy spools of thread.
Whatever it meant was more than I could bear.
Funny, I forgot this till you asked.
Rosie’s little hands paced the tabletop,
like cautious sentinels guarding the
incoherent landscape of our lives.
I thought of the untarnished moon.
I wanted to get her out of there.
I wanted her to get me out.
Something big and dark filled me up
until I disappeared. Then
the astonished “O” of Rosie’s mouth,
her mirrored rage, dragged me back to earth.
I had cut off a lock of her hair, it seems.
We could not cry out.
I was not thinking of this later, many
years after we were separated, after
I was finally living alone when
I knew what I had to do to feel better
and bought the shears. I thought I was
invisible, but I wouldn’t be here,
would I, if I really was. I tell you, Continue reading
The little you–what’s
left of you–laid on top of
every you you dreamed.
sci fi haiku
cylinder hovers above
woods, animals freeze
buzzing fucks up radio
trucker prays in field
women driving home
stunning light, vehicle swarmed
superfast spacecraft arrives
drinking and loud sex
tall frilly spacemen
emerge from haystack-shaped ship
police call it in
There’s always something from the past–
perhaps unnoticed then, perhaps not even
from a past in which you were alive–
there it is: lurking in a nearby future,
waiting with its duct tape and its cable ties,
its boat idling in an unmapped cove,
a lashed-palm lean-to on the deck where
the weary torturer takes off his plastic shoes
to take his naps. If later comes, you will recall
you knew they had you when you knew
you’d seen it all before—the implements
and makeshift generators, the manager’s
motto taped on the wall to motivate
your captors, those who do and
those who merely watch: be the cross.