going to seed

the world is full of levers

waiting to be pulled,

things waiting to be moved.

 

the levers can be hard to find.

since they’re invisible, you have to

bump into one to know it’s there.

 

they are long arms, reaching out

like the low boughs of a wise old tree.

many are on the edge of steep hills.

 

to get there, you have to breathe hard.

you have to feel as if you might die.

you pass many wry flowers along the way.

 

they nod as you pass; they are going to seed.

they ask nothing of you but to look

and take note and see your future.

 

you take step after step up the incline;

you wish you were a fish, even going upstream.

you wish you had gills, a long muscle for a body.

 

you are losing air; you are wheezing.

you feel the butterfly in your throat swelling.

it is not easy dwelling on land.

 

you pass many remnants:

broken houses, rusted fences, crippled farm equipment.

a fish out of water, indeed.

 

dreams of mother, father, child, lover follow you up the hill.

they trail behind you like a long ribbon of frames.

all your arms together reach out for the lever—and pull.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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ii.

the view from in here:

the curves, colors, corners—

 

forming the anchorage of

you. the angled wood running

 

down hallways, dreaming of

being trees in a time before

 

scarcity. she didn’t want to grow,

to move, to change; she knew:

 

something is wrong. she crept into

the wall and fashioned herself in-

 

to a knot: good for the slaying.

from beyond she is still saying:

 

throw me a line. it continues

to feed our gibbous infamy.

asylum

look behind you:

the orchard-lined hall-

way; all the things that have

grown up and pushed out fruit

 

in your wake; the worn door frames

and door knobs, the sleeked floors slipping

under committed feet, the living point of contact

keeping you both here, resolved—all in, so to speak.

 

not since those first nine months

have you ever been so

in love with a

lynchpin.

mother-green

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i’m watering my

neighbor’s plants

while she’s away;

 

she has plants of every

variety in every room –

even the bath-room,

 

and it’s like a game of

hide-and-seek

to find them all.

 

interspersed throughout

are a few artificial plants that

look persuasively real,

 

and i find myself

watering these too,

for good measure.

 

it’s a quiet process that takes

time, slowly pouring into each

pot from the crystal pitcher;

 

waiting for the water

to pool at the base,

saying: enough.

 

every plant differs in

size, texture, phase;

it requires paying attention

 

to not over- or under-water.

i don’t know their names,

but it turns out i am able

 

to give them what they need.

it turns out they give back ten-fold.

i move a few that aren’t

 

faring as well closer to the

light: but mostly they

just miss their mother.

 

i look around at all of the trinkets,

treasures, and talismans and think:

this woman has a full life.

 

the apartment is small but filled

to the brim with art, books, music, colors,

photographs, flowers, travels.

 

if i live in a place like this

when i am 70, surrounded

by vast memories, and things

 

that i love, and wistful plants

that miss me when i’m gone,

i will be a happy woman.

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the ever-giving opera

 

20140213_195720

after all the snow — the chilled beauty and heft

continuously served early, middle, and late;

 

after the desolate dark during which I dreamed

my self dead a dozen times and ways —

 

the greening court-yard!

 

and in it,

one lone red star;

 

open-mouthed,

wide-singing:

 

the ever-giving opera of spring.

 

red tulip_cropped