Tuesday, December 31, 2013


I rage and rest.

I think of you
breaking the twigs of my nest.
The carpet threads, the new-
fallen hairs you tore
with clipped control, and flew.

 I famished more
than on the first fair crack
of crying dawn, when I was young and poor.
You whistled down the seaming on my back,

crackled my wet mouth with food
that overspilled like grain from a fat sack.
It was warm on that bough, and good.

Alone and still, I heard the tenderest sound.
I feathered in your moss, your splintered wood,
and grew. You ripped me out: 
 clawed, cast me down--
I feed on stones, flail heavy with the ground.

Saturday, July 27, 2013


It's something like a desert, something
withering of throat and limbs. The blood's slow
caking from the edges, saving the heart.
It goes a little way, still warm. A thin thrum
of wings, darkening.

and there's that place
by the shrub, where you left him
like a hump of earth, the shadows of two leaves
stretching over his dry lids. It's the bones of something.

Stooping into something like a well,
a brown shallow with a rim
of sallow mud, speckled with dead
wings, and filling your skin.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013


Father, your snow falls
like leper's sores,
like scales from blinded eyes.

Father, it falls like
your bread from heaven.
Your every word
falls like that,
and washes--

Oh, Father, the crust
falls from my dead heart.
The earth breaks
and the tomb creaks open.

--as white as that,
when the smear
and the maggots have been on me
not for three days,
but from the womb!

Thursday, January 24, 2013


I saw a flicker at the window today. A flash
of orange, hornet in his beak. He looked
at me, and bit his catch in two. We paused
a moment at the glass, considering
what creature moved upon the other side
lifting the wings or arms the Lord has made
for flight--
                  or in my case, but to adjust
the curtain for a better view of him
at which movement he fled with his two wings.


Because the men had work they meant
to do, they pulled two strips of metal
from a wall
in back of an old church
(surely no use to anyone there)
and carted them back
and laid them flat
on their anvil. One of these
had come without much prying. It lay
still, eager to be hammered
 to forceps
or a wheel. The other piece
had taken a great portion of an hour
to wrench free; mayhap it had thought
the wall its destiny. This one had bent
a little in the struggle. Thus it lay
at angles with the anvil, on its side
and seemed to tremble as the hammer rose
and quiver as it fell.

The blows were swift
and unrelenting blows. The men
knew what they were about, and soon
the first had taken their desired shape.
They set it to its task, and turned again
to straightening the other for the same.
They put it in the fire for a bit.

The room was dark. The crooked metal lit
a small place on the anvil, where it writhed
as though it felt
the heat, and feared
to feel the blow.
                     How hard it was to shape. The anvil rang
and rang and rang and still the metal bent
and twisted every way
but which they meant. The sparks
flew up like hundredfolds of dying stars.

Perhaps they beat too much upon one side,
because at last it folded
on itself. And when they sought to beat it out
again, it cracked along the flaw,
and snapped. The crack was long.
The metal was too weak.
            Ah, well, the men said. It was our mistake.
The flaws were in its core. A solid rod
is what we ought to use. We'll start again
with good materials. With this they tossed
the broken halves into the dust

They waited there a good part of a year,
brittle with weather and the rust that grew
with every rain, until a Hand that knew
its work took hold:
plucked them from the ground
carried them home
laid them by its fire
felt them over closely for each flaw
lowered them into the hottest flame
placed them on the anvil end to end
hammered evenly on every side
fused the ends together into one

and when the room was still, the metal too
was quiet, resting, ready 
to be shaped.