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Month: January 2013

The Fire of Twenty-Thirteen


It only takes a moment, and then
her body burns, the skin lifting away

in the shape of leaves—an oak, a willow branch, a maple—
as if she’s known this language for years.

She is screaming, she is speaking
in tongues, she is a woman

lost in dreams. Around here, it is only heat
and burn—and then there is the numbness, too.

A chill. A spider finding its way
through the nerves, the rope.

In case of a fire, the elevator is closed.

The spider takes the stairs, the spine,
like a ladder, looking for a way out:

a vibration, a scream,

the mouth is open.




When it comes, the meaning of water
is transformed.

It is not soothing and cool—it burns.
It suffocates.

The blue is a form of darkness
inside the house.




Then the house is no longer a house.




It is as if she has become a part of it—
the pictures, the clothing, melting—

the water seeming to strip away
what skin she believes is left. More blue.

More numbness.




When it comes, the color of the sun and the sky
are yellow, like a crayon, and then she is seeing

the house from the outside: the burn,
the tiles, the shingles, folding,

the main doorway like a mouth,
left open in a scream, bending, twisting,

into what only can be a more painful cry.

The sound that comes to mind reminds her
of wolves, echoing in a canyon,

absent of trees
that were sent away by the heat.




The Separation


There was a moment when I thought of you, and
I longed for water. Two black pitchers

laid on the ground in the shadow
of what must have been an old well.

Their two mouths were crusted
with the last snowfall’s ice.

Their mouths like two ovals
learning how to kiss

a forgotten earth. We became like those pitchers,
you and I—like dusty leaves, turning over

and under in brittle circles. We became
like the seasons, passing time. We waited

on vacant porches, shadowed backyards,
and counted neighboring porch lights:

some turned off, late in the evening; some flickering
like dying fireflies; some left to drown

in a new dawn, somewhere down
in the summer passage.