With holes in their necks where they might have last kissed or nuzzled, not one, but two deer, frozen, gently surface from a dune on the shore. Their empty eye sockets gaze upon each other – bridal veil of sand pulled back by the sea – ritual minister of joy and last rites. Were they driven from their families, a hunted Romeo and Juliet? Did they come down to this water like you and I to drink and die together from the beauty of sunrise? My black jacket flapping in the wind, I join ravens picking at the choice bits. I hear your voice – snow owl, prophetic wife, your scorn stiff with salt and rime.
A white-tail deer moons me, disappears behind clouds, and I'm moon walking in the stumble-light Tripping on potholes of moonman craters and astronaut seas mirrored in puddles It is way past bedtime for stoats and voles, they watch silent horror films of hawks, shadows that flicker on silver screen leaves The taste of time on my tongue, my gloves soaked and cold from this morning's sleet I trace a line to the Pole star, but is my filmy world a negative, I have it all backwards? Am I headed South, not North? I walk in light, old and yellow as sticky tape, peeled from b&w photos off the bottom of the sea
Wind bites through my skin – white-capped teeth off winter seas. Sand whips and tastes of banishment. Umbilical prisoner, I walk bleak Eden. Rain breaks covenant, floods, waterboards my knowledge of good and evil.
Christmas Nor'easter, waves crash-landing from wind's broken navigation, I kneel on the beach and dig for Amelia Earhart's bones. Yes here, yes now, my arms sweeping sand like Electra's wings, to answer just one death of the tall and the lost. Next to me the cadaver-sniffing dog, furious, frenzied, finds a baloney sandwich from WWIII.
|This will be about rope.||And so?|
|Turk’s Head knots|
|for eyes.||Just because you say “trefoil”|
|doesn’t make it true.|
|Braided X’s.||Like eyes sewn shut. Whipstitch is it?|
|Coils and splices.||You are spliced to me, yes.|
|Coils of smoke. I gave up my Marlboros|
when you were four.
|You are bent in death.||Bend – to join one rope to another. What ties us?|
|Our rigging of blood.|
|of us make correct use|
|Why are these nautical, I was a cowgirl.|
|Arroyos to the Panhandle|
|look like the bottom of the sea.|
|You would have me||You would|
|the solstice.||me with the sun.|
|Blocks and||sheaves to lift|
|from the crack of noon.|
|Bight, cordage, knot,|
Bite, pull, thread, lash,
|tangle what is|
|You know you do not mean that.|
|into every strand.|
I guess just throw it on the compost, this dead swan at the bottom of the road. So much larger here at my feet – a dead, feathered cello, neck bent around to bow a low moan. It was never white, I can see it was a living light, bright silver now brushed with death to mottled grey. Prisms of dew bead the wings – tasting flights of fine oil feeding mites. No prayer here. I roll like a dog in dead words.
Winter rain splats like an egg in a cold frying pan. This morning my mind is refrigerated, congealed, a rictus of cheap margarine – I scoop fat substitute thoughts with a spatula. They splat in the pan too, alongside the egg. Isn't there meant to be an order to things? Heat first, then butter, then egg? Kitchen mullions rattle as the Nor'easter tests their strength. The vacant house across the way – Is this the year the windows break? Will it give up the ghost in a final shiver of broken glass? Outside in the storm, as with the world, birds have abandoned flight. No flying south to depilate winter, the bikini waxing of dreams – no tweezing the snow moustache from elderly Florida swans. No way to take the hair off it all. You toss me a frozen bagel and laugh – hardtack or life buoy for a morning's survival, my shipwrecked words wash ashore this deserted island. The rain slants, cants, through these old portholes.
You, clawed as dragon fruit There can be no aubade, no gentle lifting the morning light Paring back sheets like skin of soft plums to abide this leaving Only the heart of fire like the sun In my palm burns just to say goodbye
|A poem plunged into the sea||I hear you singing|
|I row to where the words rise||The Water is Wide|
|in columns||lost in time, escarpments, translation from the Malagasy|
|The return of the Sargasso Comet|
|The Salt Meteor||It was hard to tap the sky|
|and break through clouds|
|quarried of marble|
|Are your tatters of seaweed|
|meant for wings?||I am tired of sinking ships and sailors|
|I fly the slick and rope of sorrow|
|And so||And so|
|Were you ever Icarus?||I’m sorry, no|
|And so||And so|
|I return to shore||Your oars are oak and stripling ash|
|The forest has no place at sea|
|I press the ore blades across my chest||I will bring the lightning|
|Restart my heart||One hundred hundred times|
|For this I love you|