Bayonet

Death has innocent cries,
newborn sounds, feeble attempts
at first communication.

You can hear a voice dropping,
distance told by sound.
The ever growing gap–diminuendo.

Do you think they knew the sensation of falling?

Startled shoulders widening,
hands outstretched, backs arched in anticipation.
Head limp, necks not knowing how to hold things together.

Once in a museum I saw
a pile of children’s shoes.
At least five feet high–

it was just one pile.
I’m sure there were others in other museums.

Newborn cries can fill a hospital’s atrium,
swell in that empty place and
break through any sunlight that provides
witness to atrocity.

Salvation: to make wide

Open me up, right to the center
where ripe things wait for harvest
and the dead for pruning.

A cut running through the thicker
parts, a fine line to the heart.
Open me up, right to the center

find there a body not weaker
but willing and a soul no tempest
can shake, a place where dead things wait for pruning.

Drop inside seeds of life, alter
what I am, and grow in me the softest
place. Open me up, right to the center.

Stretch out of me into something finer
past rambling bushes and dust
and find there nothing in need of pruning.

Make me like you, Father,
and turn my worst into your best,
Open me up right to the center,
leave nothing dead for pruning.

Dawning

My God turns my darkness into light.
—Psalm 18:28

Once, it was a heartfelt crush on a drug addict and the first kiss that came later, a summer fling drinking with a bartender, endless bleeding letters to an Australian man I called my Moveable Feast, nights on my back defending myself against the cowboy hands of a Mississippi boy, and frequent phone calls to a dislocated Minnesotan who liked my Tennessee accent and wanted a wife who’d play the piano for him.

Now, I step outside and bend my head back to the fading fluorescent lights of your house, throw my arms     wide     and     wild,     look up to the sky and watch as bit by bit He opens the thick curtain of my darkness and brings out the stars. You step behind me knowing the constellations in me, the way I wax, wane, rise and set. You know what brings me out at night, and while you embrace me, I praise my God for the light—the peaceful silence, the hours of calm conversation, and moments on our knees in prayer. I praise Him for nights like this and the hands that rest on my hips with ease.

 

 

*in celebration of 12 years of marriage, I’m looking back at some poems I wrote during the early stages of our relationship. This was composed a few months after we married.

Beloved

Come my lover, let us go to the countryside, . . .
If the pomegranates are in bloom—there I will give you my love.
Song of Songs 7:11-13

A cool sweet aroma fills the air,
humidity lifts from the river

and curls the fine auburn hairs on my head.
Broad orange flowers open,

turn delicate, and my love for you rises
on the wind like their fragrance,

like the winged insects coming
to life in the sunlight that filters

through spring green leaves
and limber branches, a brief

shining, an illumination of their
sheer wings. You place your hand

on my thigh and our eyes
fasten to one another. A look

I have practiced to hold, a fire,
a deep and long shining,

an illumination of my fair skin
until I too flower in this afternoon light.

A Find

I recently discovered this e.e. Cummings poem while digging around on the internet one day. The more I read it, the more beautiful it becomes. Simple. And beautiful.

Enjoy.

somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
e. e. Cummings, 18941962
somewhere i have never travelled,gladly beyond
any experience,your eyes have their silence:
in your most frail gesture are things which enclose me,
or which i cannot touch because they are too near

your slightest look easily will unclose me
though i have closed myself as fingers,
you open always petal by petal myself as Spring opens
(touching skilfully,mysteriously)her first rose

or if your wish be to close me,i and
my life will shut very beautifully,suddenly,
as when the heart of this flower imagines
the snow carefully everywhere descending;

nothing which we are to perceive in this world equals
the power of your intense fragility:whose texture
compels me with the colour of its countries,
rendering death and forever with each breathing

(i do not know what it is about you that closes
and opens;only something in me understands
the voice of your eyes is deeper than all roses)
nobody,not even the rain,has such small hands

Poet Mother

a  fragment

 

When you forget how to be a poet

and your days are full of dirty diapers and bottles and slobber

and empty of the poetic or lovely or worthy of verse;

 

When you forget the beauty of language

and your ears are full of whines and cries and I wants

and no beautiful sound drops into your life or your page;

 

 

any workshop-esque thoughts?

December Perspective

for Tom

We went into the woods to find a Christmas tree.
Our boots crunched though the untouched snow.
We walked deep into the fragmented woods–
bare trees shriveled in the cold, but we finally found a tall cedar:
it would smell good in the house, we figured; Mama would like it.
So my brother began to chop, a small hatchet his only tool,
and he chopped until youthful arms lost their vigor.
Dragging it back to the truck proved another difficult task.

When we propped it up outside the house we realized
that when surrounded by the fragmented white,
hints of summer skew your perspective,
making you think grandeur is just something
you can cut down and place in the corner of the living room.