La lune

The moon gleams in dolorous waves,
lulling the sea to sleep in the still muted
tide of night. Everything is quiet, slipping
into darkness, stupefied by dreams. Everything
spilling towards daybreak. Hush, hush. Listen
to the murmur of mice in their midnight beds,
the berceuse of night-blooming flowers, craning
towards the celestial. Listen to the hymns of
dark woods, the siren song of the salt sea, rippling
lyrics of love to mermaids. Now the owl puts forth
his question, which is answered by shadow
and a kind of gravity made possible
only by starlight.

Poppies, Seen in a Field

Blood flows out of these eyes,
blooming with yolk, the irises black.
Why do these hellish mouths open to me?
As if to scream death. Red skirts round
a waist of death. Do not weep your
heroin tears for me. Already I am
sick with the milk-white sap of life. In a
field of chrysanthemums and violets your words
are poison. The cornflower sky breathes in
your fumes. Are you not ashamed?
Close your mouths. Don’t sit there
gaping like fresh wounds.

Madrigal

The body is possible in spring
No need to coop up inside oneself like a Russian doll
No need to pleat the skin, no need to bury oneself
under the earth, no need to rush headlong out of
winds and chills, into rooms where people babble
and pass infection

The tulip stems are an umbilical cord, rooting
me to the great mother. Red to deep brown,
the blood rooted in the body of us all

The optimist in me is reborn in ether
and shades of unblemished blue

Deliver me into this becoming –
into this earth, into this awakening

I want to be reborn from a dust storm of pollen
April my renaissance, my rebirth and resurrection

A column of pure fire, I will wade into a field
of amaranth, bearing armfuls of sunshine,
my hair unbound

Along the vale, crocuses are opening
I am ready to bear fruit

nightscape with roses

I will grow into something with slit eyes,
a cat, perhaps, or a snake.

I have a serpentine cunning
and nine feline lives.

I watch the moon and wait, lurk behind
potted plants and curtains, bide my time.

My mother tells me curiosity will kill me.
I am almost tempted to ask her why.

The trees are on edge with the abeyance
of wind. This is when I am most myself.

I imagine death is a tunnel
through which no wind blows,

or a man, tall, dark, handsome,
his eyes yellow with jaundice.

He likes to count down the lives for me,
a rose for each. Every time a rose goes out

I smile. Besides, I like the smell of rotting.
It jolts me out of this skin, this life.

Raw, bloodless, I am like a cutlet of
some meat. Veins run through me, pink and hollow.

No wind blows. Nine times I am passed through fire.
After I’m purer than God, I puke in the toilet.

Death holds my hair. Smiles, though it
doesn’t quite reach his eyes.

My mother greets me in dreams. I’ve been
looking for you, she says. Where’ve you been?

I don’t know, I lie. She smells my breath
but says nothing, only smiles a sad, soft smile.

I wake up, brush my teeth, sort through the mail.
In the mirror my eyes are keyholes, double slits.

I have grown into something on the edge
of terror. After I’ve been clarified like butter

I sit and watch the trees. The trees like veins.
No sound when the wind blows through.

Death gives me a rose.
I grew it, he says. From a corpse.

Here.
Just for you.