“…Yesterday you told me about the way
forestry affects your mind:
hunting poison ivy, leaves of three
with greater poisons in hand,
your mind twists and grows
into moving shapes, tesselations
of trinities, hidden in the brush
like a Magic Eye painting.
The movement of growing things,
the taste of green gets under your skin…”
“…Come with me, when the coast is clear,
to the Gideon’s call of foghorns
and the rush of wind in your russet hair.
I want to see the cold playing your skin
and draw maps of the constellations
of your freckles. I want to discover
the highways and fire roads in you,
your back country, the icebergs that break ships
and the lounging sunlit seals…”
“…Tonight I’m connecting the stars on my own
in a house the color of midnight.
I was experimenting with electricity
and found a rip in the galaxy—
an open circuit, a breach in polarity
where the mysteries of trinities glow
Is it too much just to be happy?
I don’t need to invent the microwave
or write a symphony.
I just want the simple pleasures
I’m waiting, and waiting is a sentient life-form
you can feed snacks…”
It’s Sunday, September:
after storms, a high-contrast day
so bright I can see the future
glowing like the variegated orbs of apples
in this barn, each in its wooden bowl
into tastes of permanence.
The cider press extracts elixirs
and ferments liquors while donuts fry,
pies bake, sauces simmer.
The hurricanes passed.
You were here with me,
like you’ve been through them all
under the waves as my towns submerged…
…I feel her pushing against my rocks,
evaluating the surface.
I feel the tug of her roots descending,
cotyledon bursting, Kermit-green:
a heart-shaped inquiry
I can’t help but water.
What will they bring? Will this be a quick harvest,
a crop of radishes—lunch for the skunks,
or the start of a garden?
It’s hard to say, always. I lie under the covers,
trembling, osmotic—thinking of the other beginnings,
these inceptions I didn’t expect.
I turn over the soil, remembering them all.
I’m strangely calm, like always; my membrane thins
and I paint my cortex with the colors of her skin…
…Let the colored waters drip
between our open veins;
let the pinwheels spin
while the cargo slips out of sight
and the caboose transports the night
on its back and the full moon in you
races down the waterwheel
into the waiting pool of my lips
and all I can do is put another quarter in
and watch the world turn again…
I’m walking down the street with my trouser hems burning.
I used to try to shake them out, and obviously,
the flames only rose.
I stopped trying to stop, drop and roll;
stopped trying to jump in puddles
and I’ve learned long since to ignore the stares
when getting on buses.
Sometimes it gets on my fingers, my lips,
and I catch things on fire that I touch. It’s tough,
but I’ve learned to live with it,
with the smell of burning that sends people running
every time I enter a room.
I don’t remember how it all started.
Maybe, like Centralia, it started with a vein of carbon
inside my brain that caught fire, that no one could quench…
You know you can’t stay here.
Every heaven on earth has its fall from grace.
Every rhythm eventually breaks.
Someday, you too
will get that deployment call,
maybe in the night, when the kids are still sleeping.
You’ll pack your belongings, but not all of them.
You’ll leave behind memories and a history
and start off in some unknown land,
where no amount of explaining
will unveil your stranger’s cloak of invisibility…
…Somewhere in another house,
someone’s eating dinner.
Someone finished their homework.
Someone’s practicing guitar
and I interrupted him but he doesn’t mind.
He teaches me the chords
to “Message in a Bottle.”
Voices far away
cut through static.
I want to eat the sounds
of humans being alive…