AFTER THE GIRL
After the girl
with the handful of mice
and a tiny silver guillotine leaves,
we lie down in the dark.
You tell me last night
you dreamed you wore
a beard. The night before
you drowned but did not sleep.
On the screen behind us
citizens of a great island
build the streets
toward a difficult sky.
On the next screen
a blind girl steps
before a shining faucet
and lets her dress fall.
CEREMONY FOR A BYSTANDER
Listen, I am returning to where you are.
asleep on the stalk,
show me how to keep
the mouth soft.
are building cornices in the dust
and not one accurate place
in the silence.
Face down in the sun you can say you followed an animal
into the sun. We were having a conversation
about her pain. Lamb and Pin, first in line,
and then the other ponies trailing behind, mending
their shadows by the little coughing light of dusk.
And the birds dropped in our laps.
How could the sky have forsaken usafter we made it
small, to match our faith, and rode it
so purposefully into the breezeway.
From the east, you shall hear the call of seventy pentecostal hoof-taps.
From the west, the haystack whispers, slow learner.
Once I lost the use of my arms.
It was the only time I felt a kindness toward myself.
As for despair, I’ve learned to sit with it,
to arch my back and sink
the weight into my heels.
Every night I oil the saddle.
Every night I spit onto the torn bed-sheet,
rubbing concentrically until I find you
lying in the grass, drinking at the mouth
of the river of an inner ear.
I dreamed I swam in a public park
while leather-beaked ducks
ate black bread at the edge
of the cool water. I was afraid
to feed them. I was afraid of the sun,
which showed me the original image
of myself, floating on my back.
A dog barked and then another dog
raised its head. I feel I deserve to die
if I have made a mistake. Underneath
the lake: bird music, cold sky
swimming up to meet my hands.
Ludwig, Marni. Pinwheel. Kalamazoo: New Issues Press, 2013. Print.
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