Day comes in with a dungeon, out with a coo and a turgid moon. A woman, enterable, seems like stopgap for sorrow, sure, and yet I live alone, such blessings, the between a bleating offering up its throat. Fluttering things have so distinct a shade! Glory the world unmade, glory the angel of silence, our S&M togetherness, our still life with bondage. I shoo him out, hum loudly; he stomps off, wings grazing cobwebs, at dusk sulks back and I lower my head and I thrum with frequencies below the lowest register. When my eardrums ruptured, he wrote Baby you’re mine now on a slip of paper slivered through the keyhole, awful nothing-roar shaking the foundation. There are stalks full of bitter, he pleads, there are pods that, slit, give a milk so sweet a voice comes to seem catgut-cheap.

                                        How boulder opals
                                        hold their water

                                        how all winter 
                                        my throat slammed shut

                                        Hey opaline country
                                        I’m over here now

                                        fitful            rueful            unkempt

The little brass plaque on my door reads: Travelers & solicitors must ring bell. I mean to steal it when I leave. Listen: I’ve seen little girls in wedding cake dresses hand out carnations at the polling places, seen a guy on the corner of Grand and Arsenal say: How do I know there’re angels? I ain’t never had one walk right up to me, shake my hand

                                        Felted air,
                                        power lines down—
                                        no dial tone

One interesting expression is Nothing’s there. I’ve quite the harem, ladies: there’s the angel of silence, and then there’s the body I love best, who resides on the other side of several mountain ranges. 

                                        Bestial weather and the dog 
                                        chained up

                                        palm-sized book 
                                        burning in the oil drum

                                        burning the anodyne spells

Propped up on my elbow, storm ghosting the trees, this is what I say to the angel of silence: 

anodyne, poppy mine, the years a canyon without looking down, the needlework-elaborate pattern storm-shifted, fragrant as juniper: there the household boxed and sold, day a hinge I oiled and oiled. A thousand kindnesses. Late rent. How I hitched up my skirts so as not to snag on barbed wire; how herons made the river monstrous. I abandoned one town, found another, turned at the three windmills, said Holy the hail I’d Fed-Ex by handfuls if I could as desert gave way to flash flood and lightning kindled the foothills unto tinder. Fantastic, I reckoned, fantastic, and when called upon did supplicate: here is my underneath, here is my best garden, here is what I’ve made in the gravest light while my cells were rioting and my atoms were lighting the bonfires of the coming immolation, dizzy with the ordinary cruelties and wondering just who the seeds are being saved for, far north, encased below the permafrost. 

                                        The desert a flash flood, 
                                        a bewilderment; 

                                        the desert a lost key,
                                        an astonishment

On a trip West, watching porn in the hotel room. I can take or leave it. The climax that puts me in the seats? World’s end. Hail or locusts, freeze or thaw, I’m not picky. Like: last week I was late for lunch because I didn’t want to miss the conflagration, fire rolling behind the credits. Eating everything. 

                                        In my sleep
                                        the rangeland’s burning 

                                        and in my pocket 
                                        a shard of obsidian 
                                        from the world’s last melting

Folly becomes us, the end of empire uncomfortable and strange, in the Walgreens’ parking lot always someone with hand outstretched and I am stretched inside, drawn thin, more perplexed than anything, useless in this growing dim, incandescent lights replaced with little coils, blackout curtains meant to blank away the security lights that click on whenever someone passes, yard flooded with brightness all hours, night sky a blotted mess I must have dreamt once: 

                                        Road to the mountain 
                                        pocked with salt

                                        boulders etched 

                                        with spirals, arrows, 

I’m a woman waiting for world’s end, assembling secondhand matter in lidded jars. Pods and such. Remnant glass. Prayer cards. I cut my hand—sharp tithe. In abandoned houses, women stir broth by the gallon, strain the bones. My beloveds are nothing I won’t eat. See my ikon? See my feast? Glacier’s just a fancy term for sea. The world is the world’s own eidolon.

                                        The last time I fired a gun
                                        the pure violence 
                                        of the magpies’ hyalescent

Sleep’s a dovecote with a tiny god in each hole, says the angel of silence. I tell him that my failings are daily are heavy are thickly crowding, a thicket a bramble a stain. And the angel of silence says I’m his goodliest wife, his prettiest helpmeet. I wash his feet, daydream pterodactyls knife-still in the locust trees, give good story: 

how, in the sanatorium—my lover told me this once, after he entered my body, after pulling out, after he said If the light fixture were a constellation what constellation would it be—in the sanatorium, men drowning in their own lungs would call out open windows to the women’s ward above, obscene things, final wantings. This gladdens me enough that most days I get out of bed.

                                        This wild need of yours/for wonder

                                        an alarm system so

                                        I key in the proper code.

Corona Borealis, I say to the angel of silence, in case he’s wondering. And the ruins, they’re beautiful, and day is beautiful, a real Lazarus, a skinjob miracle. Collapse loneliness, get adoration, if you’re lucky, boulevard redbud-blowsy, branch branch and shatter what the city wills of glass, silk lining rain-stained to ghost blot amid these vinegar hours, this sour that begs: taste, taste, hosanna may we. What else is left?

This poem is part of BR’s special package celebrating National Poetry Month.