Evensong

 

I.

Listen—the sea
is memorising stones

retracing steps,
chalcedony and quartz.

The cave is thronged
and purged, the tide touches

every treasure,
scrapes the vellum clean.

Starting again
at first light, wakes to find

liquor and pearl,
the shells albumen-wet

a saffron morsel
for an early gull.
 
II.

If I could choose?
(I know, but bear with me.)

A night in June,
the dryads gathering

jasmine, rose petals,
sleeping where they fall.

Wine tangling
the radio waves, goodbye.

Orion and Auriga,
needle stings.

Sapphires in our tin roof,
Fabergé moon.

A phosphor scratch,
just once, a meteor.

Aleph, atom, æther, morning star,
aphelion and solstice, omega.

Flight Time

 

The hours of flight are hidden time,
inviolate somehow, exempt

from the insistence of the surface,
the holding down, always,

of one job or another—a slackening,
a wave from the terminal.

The levelling out, the steady drain
to quiescence of the felt world.

Tropopause. The abandonment at last
even of weather, the noise

threadbare now, and pieced together
from silences that show through.

Then six or seven nightward hours
with only the ideas of spin

and drift, the receding of the world
to elsewhere and nothing

further can be done, there is nothing
beyond your own closed skin.

Voyager

I am currently 13 hrs 37 mins 03 secs of light-travel time from Earth
— Tweet from Voyager 2, 1 April 2012

May all be well.
This is a small heart
I have carried in the dark.

Hello to everyone.
I am the beautiful
things we have tried to do.
It is difficult to explain.

We greet you, O great ones.
This is a human male
and this a female.
This is a prelude,
followed by a fugue.

Hello. How are you?
We made this
with our bodies.
It is possible that our bodies
are made of love, or darkness
or nothing.
It is possible.

We are happy here.
This is made of gold.
This is what whales sound like.
This is a beating heart.
I am a long way from home.

Dear friends, we wish you the best.
Do you know about gravity?
Everything is falling,
but everything is continuing.

Hello from the children of the planet Earth.
This is a small heart
I have carried in the dark.

 

See also: Voyager: An electronic reading.

Late Period

 

The house, once you have gone,
enters its own

late period.
The noted drapery

those bowls, gravid
with dour, umbrated plums

the eye-shadow
of chiaroscuro slurs

ceding to rain,
the poppy-saddened fields.

Beneath, sienna,
umber underfoot

the tried-on colours
on the unmade bed

and in the hall,
the lilies lie unread.

Esperanza

Appears in the March 2012 issue of Icarus magazine.

I.

The things I did to keep you from harm
no scissors ever touched your hair

poor Abuelita Rosa said, the sacred names
it is a nest of snakes in my bath

I lay a whole night in the churchyard
in my wedding dress, cold as the font

and lizards slipping between the stars
just to give the dust what it wanted.

II.

A child that filled a bowl with songs
for every half-dead dog in the yard

encircled your fevers, your heartburns
with lime flowers, such a child

should not hang up a satchel
of secrets every day after school

everything it said in dreams I did
I wore a bracelet of scorpions

locking the sting deep in my fist
until I felt nothing
but your name

was the call of the witch bird
making its cage in the mesquite

the face that shrieked at flames
found my heart at every window

was seen on the bus to Juarez
the wings of an owl for a veil

and nothing warm for the journey.

The Scale of Things

 

It is a small thing, after all,
small enough to be thought lost

when we woke, snowblind and feeble,
to the inconceivable
needleslip of blood,
the drift of cotton
smirched with heartbreak
and the panic of jackdaws
beating in our eaves.

It is the size of a peach stone,
rucked and wet threaded;
then of passion fruit,
a clutch of smeared eyes
in a hammered hull.

It consoles itself
in the interspersed darkness
of ambulance journeys,
combs out the braids of sea noise,
listening for sirens.

It swells to a hush
just shy of the solstice.
We lie in wait, for a skip in the trace,
for the handsbreadth left to cross

before love can breathe.