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…
On a quiet street of brick and oaks,
the mind of high summer:
a pale green notion of sound
cicadas, thinking with their wings —
possessing the treetops
in irridescent plunder
like the sacred scarabs of Egypt,
land of our bondage…
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…
A tree falls dead at my feet.
In its wake, black wire serpents
flail. Their sparkler tails
burn and flare—
a sort of sati
portending missed voicemails
of suicide and love:
the cords snap,
cell phone towers down
and I’m blank
as the matte-slate air—…
All the fountains are lit up
and all the trials I’ve been tasked with
are done. I’ve traveled the underworld,
cakes in hand; kept my coin
for the ferryman. I wandered in the dark,
cards close to my chest
and when the lost souls cried to me,
they didn’t know my real name.
There are so many rooms in the house of sleep,
and for too long,
I’ve been pacing the hallway
listening to things clatter from behind locked doors,
and I’ve been too tired to stop
and search my cluttered pockets
for the keys.
It’s easy to talk myself into
believing this isn’t necessary,
that I have everything I need
in this narrow corridor—
but last night sleep possessed me
on the couch, still in my coat.
There was no arguing with it…