Heartbreaking, the Sun
I watch an ant make ginger
work of the strange, orange
earth it has discovered.
Spring, how heartbreaking.
How emerald, and here, and
alive alive alive is everything.
The sweat collecting across
my chest, gentle larva, trying
to be born into purpose.
I want to stay between these kissing
clouds, to drape you in a garland made
from the deepest crown of sunset.
After carrying you through miles
of dream, I woke to tell you this:
Your honeysuckle eyes drown me
in heat. I let the bee sting; I sing
to myself indulgence, indulgence
Please forgive my stone-heart
she only wanted to be a seed.
He learns to dance among experts,
but it goes very heavily with him.
The music beats in a strange meter,
the words as difficult as water on rocks.
Still he plods on, stomping
when the masters step gracefully,
swaying his slow hands when he must.
They dance all night, song after song,
around the low, lit-up tree. He puts the steps
in good order only when each song ends.
With all the dancers sweating and breathing,
as they must after the faster footwork,
he scrambles down the hill to the shoreline.
He stands by the sea with stones in hand
and with his imperfect memory,
he improvises steps to the water’s rhythm.
He thinks it takes no great courage to dance
the foot’s rhythm, the body’s music.
He jumps in and out of the cold water
and lies on the gritty rocks, remembering:
a horse born on the other side of the world
learned to run so well it forgot it was a horse.
There is no way for me to learn to dig,
but always digging. Once I had to pry
below a rotten wall to get out all
my father built before I lived. It was
a wooden wall, decayed, but still in place.
It held a bank of yard by habit now,
or maybe all the earth held off its push
by contract, yearly signed with father’s sweat.
The digging lasted long. I was young,
and only just began to understand
the role of force in such a levered world.
I held the giant bar of steel upright
to wedge it in the gaps of wood,
then pushed to free the logs, and stacked
them in the grass. I did the finer work
with shovels and my hands: replacing all
the earth and eyeing level ground
to lay in stone, to see if it might hold.
I build stone cities
in the quiet of my mind.
Up sprout women with legs of honey,
naked and unashamed.
They cannot be held by my city limits,
their branch-hands curl
into the air and they breathe
sweet cream until it rains.
Beside them I am sick, underwatered
and brittle to the touch.
I empty as they bloom. It is not their fault
but mine, there is tenderness enough for us all.
I build more city walls
and watch the green moss of them
creep atop it, work their moisture into
the cracking cement.
I let them stain me green.
I live inside the trees.
My breath is the drums
we dance to, unafraid and bursting.
Earth Song I
This visible illusion - I start
and the sun ends.
I am the light and it is me.
But, some days, murk.
Instead I am muck, mud.
Then the hammering gold seeps through.
The sun does not remember yesterday
but I do. That is the edge of our togetherness.
Run into me. I have lost my way.
The light is not brightest when the sun is high,
it is in those betweens.
Roam this glinting light - fade.
Roam through me.
I am the light and it is me.
I will roam until the last between.
Earth Song II
It has not been silent, here.
The earth sings as it always does.
The crickets and the velvet
pollen pass through creases of light.
It cries out here in June
and nothing is lost, no locust shell
untouched by its honey.
The locust croons loud and out
back into the earth’s arms
and an invisible hum rises
from the trees to join it.
These sounds live long in my ears
even after I mark them
forgotten. I reform these earth songs
to look within my being.
The songs hover on the edge of me.
The crickets whine an indifferent tune.
The honey is heavy and smooth.
Before I Harden
I stare seeing a wasteland of soil.
The earth upturned, plants yanked
All there was, uprooted. But not grown dry
from the sun yet.
It smells like water, or the iron
in blood. A woman lying
in the rows of muck
buries herself. The blue of her sleeves
stains with charcoal earth
when she sweeps great mounds
of dirt over her legs.
Close my eyes - imagine
earth filling my mouth.
I am not afraid,
I am not empty without air.
I could drink the water-dirt.
The woman is now so buried
all left peaking through the sea of velvet
brown are her eyes -
open and staring.
She imagines sinking through
the clumps of earth around her.
Pushed down from the weight of the sky.