In the beak year
though some, fashioned
by man, stone-birds
So instead, I pray and gift
such a peach-blossom
morning to my brother,
together with this quandary—
this stack of stones, sudden
atop the loam on the trail. Come
why not bend
your ear a tick?
I’ve heard it’s illegal
on Skye, Isle of Skye,
where seabirds flourish,
wild circling of horizon—
kittiwake, of course—
illegal to rearrange any portion
of nature, even stones.
imbalance—how not all
love is good, not all
good is love.
We fumbled, tumbled
back in our day— d
my brother and I employed n
all skinny arms and legs. i
Smashh! Kickk! Whackk!— w
those stone-cairns fashioned by man. the
At times we just whistled to
My Younger Self Learned to Navigate by the Stars,
Sometimes by Chocolate or Chicken: A Triptych
I. Wings and Danger Bones
Sometimes in my night-vision goggles,
I’d navigate by chicken—many chickens
those evenings my brother flew.
And I’d satellite moons, how seven
of Neptune’s might nebulize fluff,
maybe even smatterings of blood.
An unusual world set against
nights with my father. I’d ring
my space drawings, space atlas,
maps, charts of the sun’s flares—
darken, opaque, even eclipse
my father’s whorls and escape
to my brother’s spaceship-dumpster.
He’d model telescopes for me
from cores of paper-towel rolls,
and observatories from upside-down
cereal bowls wrapped in painter’s tape—
kite-blue like domes glistening
in the glad-unfortunate movies.
And such became our plays—Candy-
Chop or Daddyhack or How to Train
Your Knuckle Sandwich! A peppering
of stories beneath tiny stars, salted.
And even more what sustained, our Gram’s
cold-cocoa recipe—those muscular
bear claws she’d bake. One for my brother,
one for me, as on occasion arrived
our father’s shut-uuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuup
fists!—mad, madder, maddest, mayhem,
perhaps mist, if the moment went that way.
II. The Dartboard Set and the Tonsillectomy
Sometimes in my early space drawings
I’d pluck a star from the sky,
sometimes a pair of stars, conjoined.
Likewise, Mercury-Venus, Jupiter-
Saturn, twin planets once tethered?—
then loosed by winters?—by warriors?
I’d see them, bodies of the Milky Way,
and they’d see me, or so I mused,
a girl draped in a baby blue snowflake suit.
My T-Day, tonsillectomy, bodies of my own
soon to be separated, set free. And the green
comets, too, those scary doctor-folk—
I’d view them fast forwarding up and down,
down and up the hospital corridors.
Like long shadows, why not blot them out?—
even myself. If only for my Marks-A-Lots,
where were they? But I was promised
a dartboard set, my father’s gift, sure
as asteroids collide with Mars. An odd
selection for a girl, skittish, barely six.
Though who decides what’s for kicks,
what’s for keeps? Choose anything,
darling, my father offered. Sometimes
in my space drawings, those stars, some bits
of white chocolate—I’d tack them back.
III. The Measure of Stars, I Could Not Calculate—
only the weight of dark without them.
Ditto the measure of my brother, launching
his astral stories, Ten, nine, eight…
we have liftoff, sucka!—I’d cast my earth-
sorrows amid the evening’s lonely orbs,
how even the closest would wax ephemeral.
Or in my drawings, my brother and I,
Moon One, Moon Two—our small faces
among the cloud-silk skies, upturned.
Was this still the world?—who knew,
and I scarcely needed anything save
a few dazzles to share. Yet, my brother,
the welter of him—so often, just elsewhere.
Perhaps with the penumbra-dusk, his portion
of night watching over me. But most,
he just needed to fly—all those tricks through
the light he’d make simply by soaring.
I Can’t Eat the Animal if it Looks Me in the Eye. Dammit
Forgive me Father of Daffodils, fields of daffodils,
but your whatchamacallits are the only leanings I sow.
Don’t feed me again please, your nuance, soft mouth,
smooth hands—what use ever comes from flannelling?
Stop asking, why not buy the cow even if the milk’s for free?
Who says it’s the shadows that shelter the rain and the young
grasshoppers frolicking on their backs?—not my brother and I,
Saturday mornings, our kid-loud cavorting and quash.
I admit the occasional hoodluming—night-greed, night-speed. How delicious
our duels over that one heirloom fork, swirl, swirl, swirl.
It was beauty we sought—flower-star, aurora, late summer squall in our hand.
Even babies know what they need, know what they lack—their necks
torquing, tilting, screeching for the milky isles. But is such true?—some scholars
opine mistreated children, most of them, cannot cry. My brother and I counted
the daily constitutionals, our parents’ screams-wide-open. Hardly a tine
of sweetness in that house, save one fine fork fished from a Balakirev high tide.
Yet I digress, even confess. Doesn’t the charbroil savor-divine? The au jus
versing melodically, vesting methodically? Again, I brood on the storm.
What use ever comes from the flailing heart, fumbling heart, feeble dumb-schmuck-
fucking heart—without some backbone to baste in the blood.
Ashes I Can Trust
“Dark is a way and light is a place.”
I braid twilight in a daylight
does not mean I go.
It’s difficult to stroke rain.
My headscarf sisters
purposely skip one stich,
that’s how the light bleeds,
thin as a lone night’s luna.
Any luck, veils of fog follow
and handsome the tepid pour.
Urned, a dog’s ashes
across this waterbed
and guard flashbacks
or is it sheet music?—
of an older brother.
Trust the ashes and the cold
allegiance of the chimney.
Come, it’s late o’clock,
no one is home
yet the dead
keep arriving anyway,
and a peach, two persimmons.
We could sift through clouds,
be some eyes
we borrow from strangers,
the brushes and quiet paint.
Ash a constant color,
I thread through branches,
line with ribbons
fastened to rain—my mother
the Aramaic language
and its thick, tangled hair.
Still, I braid,
trust the ashes,
loaves of braids
braids of braids.
Dark of darks
emptying my room—
the truths from half-truths,
truths from half-lies,
and a kumquat, two kiwis.
is the sky singing?—
Are we almost there?
Are we almost here?