Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Fire and Ice

a poem

possess me quickly
like high spiced food

a flood
cold clear water
fire sweeping through
like sex

like sudden illness
down with a fever
felled like a tree
white pine
ax murderer

like death
a stroke
massive heart attack

stick and rub
under pressure


Monday, February 9, 2009

time is a wolf

time is a wolf in a cave

a few beats away
from my heart’s twelve
where you will be blamed
because I was not found

your head
on my heart
like a wolf
in its cave

you swore it was the last time
and so did I
we both swore
the last

time I said it’s forever
and you said it was
but we both knew
it was a wolf
in a cave

I want to know
will I move past your body
when you die
or will my own half-cells
die with you

when I was a girl
you told me time was forever
and still wolves found me
in dreams

when your teeth are gone
will they still eat me
or fall from your mouth
when you throw up the bones

will you leave them to me
or will you always need them
as weapons for wolves
and dreams


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

hairline fracture

the ribs are a fragile cage
for her heart’s urgings

your boney skullcap
hot brain
firing nerves
eyes, brow, hands

tongue, lashings of teeth-
scarred knuckle, muscle
control, those abs
pects, the six-pack

through bruised organs
she hears their music
in her ears and heart’s distal
pulse, your ancient cadence


bloodlines traced
back to the cave
beneath fractured ridges
into the bone


Friday, September 19, 2008


Male of Elizabeth

for my sons, and my grandson, not-yet-born

I wake in the morning
his voice in my body
a language I can’t follow
a crescendo, a leaky instrument

he was a boy with a voice
that betrayed him
a sharp blade
for an Adam’s apple and words
that hit the window like sleet

he left me remembering
the quiet thrum of rain
the day he was born
the blade that saved him
after a dive to grab his waving arms

I still tread
in that water and blood
of the child who was named
male of Elizabeth
the patchwork of our bodies
living, breathing
speaking broken languages

photo by Sally Mann

Sunday, August 17, 2008

What they see by the light of candles

I was the old woman
visible to neighbours
only in conversations
on front porches
at the ends of driveways
glancing back to my darkened house
where I watched them from windows

onto the world, unseen because you can’t see inside
when the lights are out

they wonder when there is no garbage
on Sunday night
nor on Monday morning when the trucks pass by
they ask if I’m alive in here
or so I imagine

I’ll be found one day
when someone follows a nose
to the body, disintegration
escaping cracks in the mortar

when they find me, they’ll understand
something about garbage
the heap beside my unmade bed
the heap on the dining room table
shit overflowing the litter box
electricity shut off months before
those unopened envelopes in my mailbox

I know what they’ll ask
when the money is found
under the mattress
no one wants to touch
how you can’t stop someone
intent on not meeting the neighbours
under any light but that cast by candles

waving shadows on the bedroom wall


Saturday, August 16, 2008

Happy with little and still

her eyes are cloudy
the cataracts
she won’t have removed
because of the scalpel

the children
won’t understand
there can be no knives
in this life now

light has moved
from the eye to her face
happy with little
and still, living there

the laughter of her children’s children
rises over the lake
and she catches
the father of each in the flame

of memory, every bright hair of them
gleaming in the sun


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Late Fragment

And did you get what
you wanted from this life, even so?
I did.
And what did you want?
To call myself beloved, to feel myself
beloved on the earth.

Raymond Carver