Again and again the sequins fly off, fall.
In the wheel of a half-dream, she says, the body longs for fuchsia—
bruised petals, crushed berries, this dress that shimmers even in shreds.
If she could sew herself inside the dress, if she could hold
herself at the horizon line of just that color—
the tremble, the tunnel, the mouth.
However beautiful, however homely, the day’s dress
she knows she must tear, scratch, claw until it becomes
something else entire—a heap of sequins,
stray flashes of light at the edges of the room.
Better to love a rent sleeve over there where hot stars
mark the body she remembers inside
that dress, a god-light telling her to repair the story—arrange
the photos, wordless, for another beginning is about to begin:
her sorrowful hair, her cheekbones sharp in a wing of moonlight,
her suitcase of dresses, packed and waiting by the door.
Overheard Answer to an Unheard Question
Well that depends on whether you’re asking
about the recent or the long ago past.
I would say strawberry with a hint of sour
on the pale side, not fully ripe.
Tiny seeds persisting in the mouth
but nothing to overwhelm the burst of berry.
Further back in time, only meat, frozen
thawed, frozen and strong like venison.
I ate because I had to eat
but I’m telling you I tasted only fear,
a startled on-the-run taste.
I learned to feast on the tender dread
of my imaginings. Some days there were bees
circling in a crown, or flies.
Ever since he died and I almost died but didn’t,
I nibble those sweet berries.
And I endure the hoof beats of grief
pounding a narrow path that permits only one.
Kidney-Shaped Swimming Pool
From above, a jewelscape of embedded glittering,
zones of affluence, confluence, a rivering wealth
that pools in places. Down here, birthmark, blunder,
curve of obfuscate, seduce. Creeping fig, coleus,
and the wet curve, again. This biomorphic slide,
so sensate, so secret I forget: the sealed edge
was opened once, a soil crypt, a mud hole, days
of torrent and repair. Before that, decades of chemical
weathering, accretions, intermittent leaching.
A crush-stone sub-base and then rebar, a tensile melt
of refrigerators and auto bodies. “Steel Bones,”
said the men bending the basket of the deep end.
All this for a curve that signals no threat, no threat.
Still, the slender message of amplitude, of woven light
swivels a liquid lapse of better judgment, what every
watery child in us fails to understand: spall, improper
set-up of the slope line, the microscopic split that begins
and begins and begins. Beyond every convincing curve,
there’s a gate-latch moment when the stranger arrives.
Study the shape again. The pool swells with itself as if alive,
the deep end stretches from shallow, a cell preparing to divide.