--THE DARKNESS COMES AND THE DARKNESS GOES
Of all things,
I watch you catch a shark.
The fish, a gray smudge inside cunning cobalt water,
struggles against each ripple,
darting like sun shadows between every vented wave.
You’re apparently a pro,
reeling in with ease.
Your shoulders are the color of flan,
I remember how you’d tear off hunks of bread at breakfast,
smear the crust in bleeding egg yoke
and raise your eyes to mine,
bejeweled and sanguine.
Now your man unhooks the fish
and drops it into a handy cooler while
you: on video in some other hemisphere/
me: seated and stupefied/—
watch the slick-skinned creature gasp
Some say you survived the collision
while I went under steel wheels
eating silver spurs
of molten metal.
Some say you’ve been dancing Brazilian again
even though the planet’s propped up with pogo sticks
and antique axioms,
me eating milquetoast.
Some say you never age
you never think twice
you do not apologize.
They say you are someone else’s new elite and that I
I should slough away
like useless epidermis,
and I would,
I would but
I’ve been peeling the layers with a paring knife
and now all I am is blood.
You were looking at the moon,
or perhaps you were bored.
Nevertheless, the window owned your eyes
as you stared.
And there and then
a wide streak, a pale imprint
or glow washed over you in a kind of regal holiness,
revealing the landscape of your freckled flesh,
your skin a place for the softest kisses,
mane of hair mid-spine,
woven it seemed out of sweet summer grass.
There is not a natural rescue in this drama,
no reason on earth why you should forgive me,
yet I’ll lift my face and ask anyway:
The moon thinks it’s a sun,
a son bloated but adrift
Not belonging really to anything.
See how detached he is,
Glowing but not proud at all,
devastated and so, so lonely,
in desperate need of a kiss,
someone’s soft breath
whispering, “Come home. Please come home.”
Sharp and Serrated
That is how I remember you,
breeding black venom,
eyes twisted metal,
your uterus a backdrop blade.
In summer when I go shirtless
at the scars riddled like shrapnel
and when they say, “Thank for serving our country,”
I never mention your name but reply instead,
There’s a devil in the hanging plant.
Even the unlovables need a sense of place.
Perfection is not a thing to toyed with.
Tolstoy wrote want he wanted, Twain pulled all our chains
and Carver broke our lungs.
If you can find a way back to normal
and tell me why we matter,
I’ll keep the door unlocked and a porch light blazing.
There’s a wolf inside me,
long-tamed and broken,
dry-throated and wandering the winter woods alone.
The white-tailed deer don’t even bother turning,
robins haven’t a sweet tweet
and I’ve not had a thing to eat since Spring.
Only the snow knows,
remarking, “Kisp. Kisp. Kisp,”
as my paws sink through it.
Only the snow knows
what it is like to be this cold and unwanted.