Where piety kneeled piety prayed through the soft textured ceiling, speaking in the night to the King

of Kings in a heaven so in love with its own perfection, it was selfish, hovering above the cries,

above the bodies of pain, ignoring all dependencies, too selfish to take the body along for the ride.

The neglected.    Inconsolable.    Sometimes stalled.

The detritus of them go as deep as where the rock begins. 1927: a decade-old, the scattered bones

of 130,000 men find a home in the ossuary at Douaumont near Verdun.

Watched the mobile of metal fish turning in the halflight, spotty patterns on the walls over the bed.

Crested mute in the silent end of dawn, cruelty hazed the violated text.

Whipped with a belt until my back bled, father also put salt styptic into the cuts.

Father, came to you as you slept and held you down.    Lyrical instructions.

Saint Theresa, by turn, wept at seeing the marks on my body. Kissed me hard and wrapped her

hands around the back of my neck.    Lyrical intentions, also a flower.

She was sixteen, moaning I love you I love you in the dimming, I knew I stayed too long.

Jots.   A tattered imitation.   A plum tree.

Heart slamming, the lacquer evening split around, me and my bike, the beautiful clicking of bearings, coasting.

High hum of tread on asphalt. These are my streets, block after block and the fanning

spray of the sprinklers. Possession two-thirds of the soul. I flew over the wild wheat,

heard a soft clucking in the chicken house, my father’s cigarette fading precisely in the backyard,

burning holes into the darkness. Possession three-thirds of the soul.    Something

rested on high at the edge of the woods, looking back, the house

so small from my place in the cottonwood, crawfish caught in starlight through water and muck

in the silver creek, enormous detachment from the senses, elaborate calligraphy on the paper.

I read my books in closets, beneath the soft walls of coats and in the cedar-scented rooms of our forgotten

storage, the unspoken sounds, the machinery of language moving by,

child is me    bird is free    wheel    is moving away    heap is heart

sky is open    wood is high    water is drowning    air is    breath    an owl

feathers    so holy    so    flashed from a window of my tree house    Startled it, watched it cut

the night over the fields    over the anonymous period