Watch the new world form,
watch molten sea creep to shore.
Three women watch from lawnchairs.
“Move back!” my sister cries,
as the lava rush creeps forward —
liquid red, livid heat.
“Remember the time,” I say,
rubbing her feet through black socks.
“The most beautiful feet,”
my mother says.
They’re like flowers beginning to form.

Asleep in an amethyst cave
under a canopy of stars:
a struck geode, my skull’s soft cockle forms.
The shore evolves —
rhythm wet, slowed and cooled,
water — salt — moon —
The pointillist smile of stars.
On the black shore,
bauxite — giant crystals,
opaque, white, and sandstone —
cacti of calculus,
tall mothers of the tide,
pale in the moonlight.
We sing songs without words,
ask questions that sparkle and have no end.

I run naked through tidepools,
catching silver fish with my hands.
Bone, sand, bauxite — the monoliths stand,
marking the place of my birth,
sentinels for the stars:
guideposts to Casseiopeia and Rigel,
to Orion hunting baby blue dwarfs,
his belt pouch lined with shooting stars —
trajectories on my roof.
Crush, soft, slip, release —
the tide goes in, the tide goes out.
Under wet blankets, I sleep deep:
with every star thrown,
another soul born.

Cold daylight:
My mother takes me to an abbey.
Fog clouds the mountain;
I want to go home —
not knowing precisely where,
but not here —
the road narrows.
She’ll stay overnight, then leave me alone.
In the abbey, votives burn —
the priest welcomes us.
I don’t belong here, I think,
dreaming of bauxite gods.

The shore’s eyes are closed.
Germany was born, I’ve lived too many lives.
I don’t know where I am anymore.
My brother finds me asleep on a San Francisco street.
“What are you doing here?” he asks.
I lost my sister by the molten shore,
my mother at the abbey.
How can I call this my home?
He takes me in and feeds me cracker jacks,
plays Stones riffs on the guitar.
He asks me if I’m homeless.
I tell him about the bauxite,
of the caves made of stars.

He laughs. “That’s not bauxite!,
that’s just some German national monument!”
He offers me a bed.
I lay awake under dry blankets
thinking of my father,
of the paleness of my brother’s face;
I’ve come at the wrong time.
In my sleep, I return to the caves —
naked runs along tidepools,
music with no sound,
molten wakings of lava.

Each night I hide under bleachers —
travelling into other people’s dreams,
picking up dropped scarves of dancers, lost.
Can I ever go back?
I dig deeper,
searching for buried songs in my bones.

© Psyche Marks 2018

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