Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Steganography III


It's the repulsion
of atoms that makes us

unable to touch.
The distance between rain

and pattering glass is the same
between hissing fist

and patient temple, bullet and
brainstem, infinitely divisible.

I am in danger of flying
apart at any moment, reaching

for a paring knife to halve
the nectarine with empty,

razor-sharp space, knowing
I will never grasp the knife,

cannot even reach.

Thursday, July 22, 2010


The easiest way to skin a hedgehog

is to use a bicycle pump to inflate it
(gutted and cleaned, of course)

over the fire, and scrape away the remains
of its charred quills. A man can eat

three, four in a sitting, the grease
he flicks into the fire burning brighter

for a moment or two, and we will
drink ourselves welcome

to sampling the spineless
creature, for the sake of invitation,

politeness, perhaps a bite of skinny rib,
a tiny foreleg. Like trying tripe in Florence,

because the wine was at hand to wash
my palette clean and the vendor

looked on expectantly. His grin says
he's seen it before, the moment

of knowing and pushing away,
the act of swallowing truth

after truth, the grease of it
covering my foreign hands, my smile.

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Friday, July 16, 2010


It's just that: the danger
                                    of allowing an angel to drive.
Your palms cupped over and found
                                    the holy bowl empty, the rings
of left behind dust that settled
                                    on the edge of its tense surface,
concentric. Concentrate, this
                                    is the prayer for when the choir's
crescendo won't break: let my scabs
                                    peel off in one brittle sheet
and throb with what I know but
                                    can't taste to say. And
                                    Let my feet dangle over
the knit rope edge of the hammock;
                                    the doves will have their day,
and I, the same from the ground
                                    up, when the saints have long since
stopped speaking.

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Sunday, July 11, 2010

Like the Clay V


I learn from reading
the encyclopedias

that great
mechanical constructions––
boats, planes, machines

deemed fit for sacrificial
champagne christenings––
are female,

and I think this
is rightly so: helmed
and mastered by men

who rely on us
to not abandon them
to the deep,

and also that you
are sheltered within,
shuttled, nurtured, deposited,

though it is strange
to consider disembarking
as birth.

Like the Clay VII


The cat's hiss
is that of a short fuse.

We are all ill-
tempered these days.

You arrived
at my doorstep
all messed up,

hands badly bandaged,
a grenade


in your broken teeth.

After I replaced the pin
with a bent paper clip,
you told me between gasps

(the nerve
of a tooth

that it was the only
forbidden fruit
you could find.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Steganography II


I was told to wash my hands
before coming in. They looked
clean to me, but I learned

why they call it gray water,
and that sterility has a scent

––no, an odor–– like
formaldehyde, but nothing
like formaldehyde; of

preservation, of keeping
the natural course of things

at bay. We have never been
particularly good at talking
about death, but if I am

a new self, given seven
years to shed (even now,

my sunburned shoulder peeling
in ragged bits, broken skin
on my damp palms raised

and white from scrubbing),
are you?

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