I fade and soften
from the unbreakable glass I was,
(whose transparency reckoned it
could hold all light)
not in the way gemstone weight of sea-glass does,
which feels whole in the hand, though undoes, like soap,
the hand, a thing smoothly calloused
that nonetheless scratches
at the cracked dirt of its fingernails,
Instead, I take the gravel line of the road,
that records the chimes of glass tuning itself,
and glints like sea-salt, but more, I suppose, like seeds,
that are out to be beheld ungrowable.
It’s been a long time since
I wanted to die.
This is a trail that has always been the trail.
I recognize it, it steps ahead,
And plays its instrument,
beating into me, like a shoreline.
I long to wash the dishes,
rinse and glove-on
the thick feathers of soap
and let my hands be
the slippery fish that gargle in
the tropical waters of the stainless steel sea,
feed off the sticky treasures
of scraps and stains,
then to dry, and whiten
at last, flap away, evaporate.
Humid and still. 11:47 PM.
It was the hottest day on earth today.
I suppose, looking up at sparkling Venus,
if I travelled there, I’d be able to marvel at
the film of heat trembling
inches above this paved-over planet.
At the same time, I suppose, a person driving
through a night like this over the asphalt
that edges Lake Ontario between Toronto
and the northern tip of New York,
would spot another Pluto,
a continuous winter named,
every once in a while, as a planet belonging
to our solar system then one night,
all of a sudden, regarded as a corpse
of an endless drain, which the driver
would deny, when queried at the border,
ever having seen before.
You open your eyes; I am watching you.
I am thinking of another life. The wide banks of the river
slivering through Whitehorse, or the glacier grazing
the stippled clouds back from the road, north of Whistler,
the horse’s flank I stroked as you stood behind me in grass,
blazing yellow, hugging your windy, your whistling body.
The bottle of wine from Spain secreted
to the bottom cupboard, the silver mine of pots
and missing lids, like a well, plum and yearning to be drunk.
The kind of man I’m somehow not.
The bough of the tree leaning like an elbow on the window ledge,
and the flurries bleaching it with its breath of ashes.
I hold your face close to mine. We make a mirror.
I speak your name, silently, your breathing unravelling
inside my mouth, scouring my ghostly words.
Something passes through me. I am thinking of another flesh,
a fruit choosing the ground, or like hooves, digging in,
a pomegranate containing many seeds.
Red horizon. Then, a cool rain.
The last thing I said was, are you awake?
You watched me out of your darkness.
Last week, you painted your bedroom black.
Said it made you feel yourself again.
Brings back storms that scared you as a girl,
Made you sneak to your bedroom and sleep.
These days you dye your hair black, to stain time.
You were always something else, lustre
in the wet dark grasses of the silent-smelling
stars and the oval nests of birds and the weight
of my dreams as I waded out to take this picture.
Wild blackbird in this tiny cage,
wake inside me.
Each time he goes to work on the fish
he just reeled in 30 feet from shore,
an Egret moves in. I don’t add up the times
he shoos it away; by then
the air’s smothered it, and it’s lobbed back.
Both he and Egret stand,
as the fish verges into the knee-high mountains of waves
of its first world, then falls for a moment, not seeing
it won’t return where it’s going,
the salty air of its ‘forgetting’ sea.
and what occurs to me is
the mangy spirit of the young fox
standing in your driveway that day, breathing me in
even before it saw I was coming back again
to try one more time,
despite the marshy air of its rotting body.
My third coffee.
The empty stomach.
The sand that leads
To the surf.
I know nothing about this place, but for the wind’s sandy knowledge of ‘yes,’ of ‘and,’ and of ‘no,’ the thickening clouds which shuffle noisily from room to room until they are the puffy wounds on our plaster ceilings, back home. This is mid-afternoon, and the desert exodus of bathers begins,
except for the young Hispanic boy playing with a drift net, capturing my attention, and the birds’.
Yesterday, I watched from the balcony as a couple married on the beach, near where I am sitting now and where the boy is playing, and as the storm approached the lovers kissed, and, of course, all of us applauded, though whether it was to celebrate love, or for the time still left to escape the weather, I’m unqualified to say. I think I will stay here a while, as they did, and tease the growling dog of the storm, have it lick my face, leap excitedly over me with a childish hope that the watery net will capture me so that it unleashes me. After years of loving, I know nothing about love, so it comes again and again, untrained after all this time, asking not to call it to me, as if a creature all of us became but as the storm approached it became a thing we could only keep to ourselves. Now, I want to try to read the differences between the fin of the shark in the distance or in that same distance the fin of the dolphin. I want to wait for the lightening to kiss The Gulf and for the gulls to applaud the mystery, in order to forgive my queer and expert ignorance.
The hot sand is white as snow, and plastered
to me, keeps me cool as the Egret’s salty feathers.
I’m definitely not a bird, regardless of the wind’s direction.
Swimmers shuffle like Pelicans uncertainly into the Gulf.
Waves, like Obsidian spearheads, bludgeon them.
The Gulf of Mexico is a crater
dug up by a 65 million year old meteor,
serial killing every Pterodactyl.
I hunt for shells, skeleton feathers,
strewn on the shoreline. They say sharks
don’t come in this closely.