five points

i am soft in the center.

don’t tell. i dry out

and wave my angry arms around.

but even my spikes are soft once i come back to life.

you see this once you are close up; you make this happen.

 

my daughter’s tiny hand used to spread out

over the hill of my breast while feeding.

my chest would rise, and fall—and her plump hand,

her whole plump body—would fill up

like a happy balloon.

 

she lets herself get very empty these days;

she likes the feeling

of being light and airy,

of floating—playing with non-existence.

in dreams, she flies weightless over the sea from which she was fished.

 

i, in contrast,

am so full. full of worry; full of fear;

full of love and gratitude and joy.

full of food, wine, sadness, thoughts;

full, at times, of empty.

 

we are each the star in our own galaxy.

things revolve around our soft openings as they are commanded;

other things shrink, collapse, get sucked into a black hole;

and some things laugh as they expand—like a wide-open mouth—

glinting beyond our greatest imagining.

 

 

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the queen of afterthoughts

i’m the only one

the puppy won’t love.

 

maybe it would have been me,

eventually, who cheated.

 

inside, i think i am safe;

but i just feel tiny.

 

i twist and turn, a mini-cube

trying to solve all my problems.

 

you started dying in utah.

 

the three of us were outsiders;

together, deep in thought.

 

now you are both gone.

 

she’s always there, now,

when i dream of you.

 

this means something.

 

meanwhile, my girl holds up the

walls; blocks the door, the windows.

 

her arms are exhausted.

 

and she is wading into the

deep water of adulthood.

vessel

don’t believe

the mirrors—

 

except in cars;

and even then,

 

in moderation.

i’m headed out

 

into the 3d world:

where i’m visible

 

in full—not just from

the front and torso up.

 

i need to feel real

pages in my hands,

 

real road under

my wheels. i’m

 

listening to tori,

trying to feel some-

 

thing. the truth is,

i don’t like music with

 

words anymore. there

are too many words in

 

the world. this is probably

how some people feel about

 

poetry; it’s how i feel about

poetry, sometimes. and yet,

 

here i am adding to the heap.

in my dream, my mom and dad

 

are young and happy. they look

like they did on their wedding day:

 

beaming and laughing and

of a piece. but we are also there,

 

we three girls. they’re drinking

red wine and being the life of the

 

dinner party: a glimpse into the

before. in another dream, i am

 

being assaulted by a robotic arm

with a giant camera eye. it’s still

 

attached to the corner where the wall

meets the ceiling as it roves over my

 

body, pressing down hard on me

with a hum. somehow it’s the whole

 

length of me. i think of the incubus

in florida, but after. in the moment,

 

in the dream, i’m just trying to

cry out for help—but it may all be

 

stuck in my head. there’s a loud

alarm going off that i think i’ve

 

triggered. how do dreams

become 3d? or is it all just

 

smoke and mirrors? i am a

vessel of shifting memory:

 

moving from bliss to terror to

bliss again. the wide extremes of

 

being. maybe this is how we

learn the middle, the balance.

 

as i sit and think of the years,

the sharp ache is finally gone—

 

but in its wake, a deep

loneliness that has

 

learned to expect,

and love, solitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

the opposite of time

there are no synonyms for

you; you are one of a

 

kind. in my dreams, it is

so clear: what i want.

 

it is the meeting of

body and mind.

 

my mind does not

leave my body; she

 

takes her along,

loves her the whole

 

stay. being asleep

is the real awake:

 

the opposite of time.

 

while not asleep,

i’m in my own way.

 

i hold my blueberry coffee;

i stand in the hospital corridor

 

with my throat shut. the

sickness perseverates

 

in the mouth, jaw,

throat, chest, gut;

 

the non-words

in duress.

 

truth

is terror—

 

a forever

pain.

 

but in dreams,

it is made into

 

beauty: alchemy

as it should be.

 

i go to sleep under

a November tree,

 

between the

bright carpet

 

and brighter

hangings, and

 

meet you there.

we will have words

there’s no room in my life

for new men; because the old

 

ones keep creeping in.

at night, they get the lay

 

of the land. still, after all

this time—they inhabit the

 

dreams of both body and

mind. every now and then

 

a new man will arrive on

the scene: in real life.

 

a good man. a man who

makes me feel alive.

 

we will have words;

so help me god.

 

we will have a new life,

a new touch, a clean rain.

 

and i will be reminded:

you are not your pain.

i think i missed you

we wake

to create;

 

we carry some-

thing from the

 

night: thick

on us, in us—

 

a thousand stories deep

as the crow flies.

 

we were meant

to meet there,

 

you and i—

but

 

i think i

missed you.

 

i think we are

living the before.

 

—or—

 

this is my body,

broken for you,

 

like in the

hereafter.

 

we are here

to make some-

 

thing new:

but we know

 

it has all been done

under the heavy static

 

of sun. we traverse the

taverns, ear to the ground

 

for a philistine,

a dervish,

 

something royal

to stir us up.

 

we become the swine

digging in the pearls;

 

it is our

communion.

 

we sit on the dock

and wait; we believe

 

something is on its

way—a ship, a revolution,

 

a stay; a drunken glacier

swaying toward us with glee:

 

to allay our fears, our need,

our repeat existence.

some nights the moon is a train

it takes me a while

to love things.

 

but then i am

loyally locked in.

 

the colonial blue

house holds the

 

key, but no door.

in the back-ground,

 

the long bow of the

cello sings up from

 

the depths. one floor up,

children grow in their

 

beds. dad used to tease

about putting us in a vice

 

overnight. i took his words

to heart: the dreams that

 

shortened me still follow—

strong shadows of

 

nails and hair; of things

that once lived, fighting

 

to weave them-selves

back in, back to life.

 

some nights the moon

is a train. i am boarding

 

her, i am carrying

alstroemerias, i am

 

smiling as the tiny

gear of a whisper

 

turns. the shrieking,

pulsing, turning to

 

blood is all in my

head; out-side, the

 

view is silent: a giant

wheel of compliance.