[based on the gestures of the body are a Dada collage by Ryan Swanson]
I offer you a shishkabob. Water-
logged squash, swollen zucchini.
Morning crumples against the bay
window. Is this what they mean
by obliterated? The smashed swan
of your mouth indecipherable
in the yellow blue gristle of light.
Blonde before you were beautiful,
your hair risen to the rung of excess,
another surface for death.
It’s true every woman’s dreams jot across her torso,
a trellis of opal skin. The gentle hashing out, the violet
tally of children. Color more than life is a siphoning.
The hours lynched from you. No longer the pale glove
of winter beckoning, the gorgeous hoopla unfastening.
There is all this time between your bent knees, and like
any worn trail or womb you taste of cotton and undying.
In Which Ghost is a Hue
As I court my son through his tenth month
our ship rollicking
half party, half sustained injury,
I halt at the cueing of ‘court’ —
I am one of those mothers.
Oh plushiest one, how I want to canopy your world.
Every morning is both cake and calla lillies
with you. We giggle against the pillow
but there is no joke,
just the tinkering turned to booming
in a mind that yields to hope.
Ask and you shall receive
ok, so I over-dote.
I mean I am absolutely at the rim
of every dose. Your bottle runneth over
and over, darling. I want to castrate you
save you from the pubic pull that ate me alive,
to wash away the role that rape plays,
to prevent you from the onus to divide.
But I don’t.
You love the goopy, and I want to love it too.
You choose a snowball pumpkin on a church afternoon
and frankly death has more color than this fruit
but you own it. Mine you say, fingering the ghost
hue. So I bend beside the Bloody Effigy of Christ
(you ask poked? And I answer poked through)
that life is sort of like city traffic,
and we the pedestrians.
What do I mean?
Your death nudges me,
a Buick at the back of my knees.
My son just started saying mom
to something beside the sofa
and it is hitting me harder
than the bong rip I took last night.
You know the kind that leaves you
in a limbo, half hazy half max
clarity, and I think this smoky
state fits perfectly, because damn
if he hasn’t spent the past ten months
not really knowing me. I was okay
being Lady with the Lavender Scented
Butt Wipes and Lady That Rocks
Against Me in the Night. Those slipped
on like Cinderella’s slipper. But now
the stakes have changed — someone’s foot
will not configure his fate. How to teach him
to trade shoe size for being kind? To love
regardless — glass or burlap hide? Honestly
it’s only a matter of hours before he pins me
for a phony, sees I’ve signed up for something
I only wish to be.
I don’t want to be the one who separates
fairy tale from fact or begs you to let me
meet Whitney or Lindsay or Jack or whoever
is your idea of a living dream at sixteen.
I want to Whitman across the world
with you. Two spouts, no, two fountains,
gushing because the grass, the lobster,
the alive alive alive, because the moon-groped
shore is an umbilical cord between us, because
we just started gathering the lilacs and they are
there and there and here.