Photograph: Sherwin Bitsui
A coastline, a transitional place
bears evidence of others dwelling:
a house pit in the shape of a nest,
another like a knife, a noose
not lost not in time.
Ours a useful relationship though not a tight one
for between us we knew there was something to lose—
fragrant in June heat & a field of confusion
nothing like metaphor: moss campion, minute orchids, sweet
One desert summer a girl fed to fatten mice,
all trisomy and bled quickly. Little obliterations.
With scalpel and solution she fixed the discs of eyes
to slides for study. Another way to see the world,
it was: smog, wistfulness & sprinkler hiss each night,
all night, until the morning sprawl beneath palms
and the bell-tower tolling
go back, go back,
to lead me to me
to lead you next
to colors all wet:
bark saturated brown,
where lichen scurries up the trunk
of a tree that needs it.
You make me wonder about thirst,
the way things work together.
Boughs once empty fill with birds
in rapid flickering flight until beat, wingbeat,
winged threat: a magpie I try to wish away.
I ask, do not disappear.
That is no kind of apology
and I have never been a forgiver.
The green part of me never leaves
however I find that it remains with you.
However I find it in you
you must remember I am not a soft woman.
You’ll seek the mother in me
but expect to see splinters,
Together we have never been so alone,
like ladders, like messengers with another
answer. The ink-stained hand holds
heartache no longer. It’s been set
and pressed down, mapped & scattered.