The cells split, this decay cracked-atom
cannot yet speak.
Is there narrative in bloodstream? Memories of chromosomes
twisted strand is it spread between
the vastness of constellations? They say
that we are the stuff of stars and we
meet anabolic in curve. This augur
under cold and cumbersome;
endless piles of crumpled receipts.
Cigarette wisp curls
Between shaking palms begins a heat.
Drawn to hardwood. Concrete. Dirt.
Place open hand and listen to your heart.
At once a beating, and then—
Stars eating themselves.
The catabolic rage of stardust
mouse-toed and freezing
toward a genesis.
See the ear and neck, where they meet
at silver vein and glucose traverse. Pluck
the mortifying hairs one by one.
The way her hands stretch to grasp
an icicle; an act of creation.
The reason for comets and planetary accretion disks.
We never read books anymore. Just talk and drink and drink and talk. My laughter is hollow with glimmering bare lakebeds. Babe can you sing me a song? Recite me a tale? Once upon a time there was a long night and before that an even longer day. And there were birds, O! So many birds! Wings lovingly tease, babe. Babe, did you see the feathers fall from their wings?
And after, I scrub a stain from the tablecloth
and treat the napkins with greasy detergent
before unloading the dishwasher.
One day, these maps and journals
will become holy signs. Leading us home.
The faces were the same
open-iron bars that had seemed a gate
when I was younger.
Spread wide for visitation; unwavering
in their refuge.
When I was younger.
Icy cobblestones, my voice slips
and speaks of something else. Caught
between the rubber and the liquid. Friction
giving way to harm.
At least gravity does all the work from here.
My mother begins talking.
My father averts his eyes; backward palm.
long past comfortable in this ill-fitting skin.
It was a bird. A spot
Wanting nothing but to hide
in a hole— terrified;
blinking mauve silver.
Avian morse code.
Chittering chittering chittering!
builds her nest
from my discarded things.
the bird says,
That worn leather cord from an old necklace. Scraps of ill-fitting shirts. Eyelashes and shed hair. A twenty dollar bill carried away in the wind. Four beads from an old, fractured juzu. Tinsel and bleach. Confidence. Smiles. Love. Books. My books. My pen. My papers.
What it was to be me.
The bird claims
“You weren’t using them
Sometimes the glass falls,
shatters and splinters and you
can but watch and listen
and cry out, after the mess has spread
like a halo
your filthy feet.
So you sweep sweep sweep.
Until the floor bleeds.
Until you bleed.
kept apart. Lest
rendering the whole
by thin, grasping
close to heart.
Until one day,
with a gust
Smiles of lost fragments.
A halo of filthy refuse.
Out the gate like a racehorse.
Blood pumping hands clenching breath fleeing.
Just that light touch
sends the heart jumping. Is this
“Oh you can bring the potatoes?”
My mother doesn’t ask,
over the phone.
Met by awkwardly domestic assent.
On the tongue edge of sleep
where do I say
what won’t be said?
Babbling dream-speak what do I say I do?
Does she say my name?
From the strain of binding opposites comes harmony.
I am uncertain if I believe him.
“I have to scrub the tiles.”
Bashful light; altar of Prometheus and brother
of Daedalus do you understand
that Stephen is someone else, or have you
remembered yourself so imperfectly after
so many years of misgivings and misunderstandings?
Bashful lights, the candle held in your hooded robes
illuminate your eyes. Before you, the cold realization
of struggle and adversary seem overwhelming.
Neither fire nor flight follow the horizon. Lines between
the altar’s cracks glow with unseen light.
How did you find yourself here?
Movements of air and dust speak our histories. The histories
we are no longer content to retell bury themselves
within the deepest recesses of soul and sight.
Nothingness not nothing not no understand cold and fire and air travel if you dare.