string fifteen

the child body
of dream I am
before you

*

before you disappear
it is armor
we put on

*

thin as paper
hard as pearl
our armor

*

I dress you
you dress me
reverse lives

*

reverse stem
nine lives of love
will wait for dark

*

child in armor
mother in armor
ocean at the door

*

ocean at the front door
bright foam memory over bed
tiny hand completely in

string fourteen

my name
goes behind
your name

*

see     this string’s
an umbilicus
between names

*

here      a conch we found
swimming to a sandbar
one evening,         1971

*

the rosy blush
to its helix
never fades

*

the words
change their shapes
now

*

in your mouth
“blue”
is difficult

*

mouth     moss
other     mother
nature

*

I find you
you find me
the conch

*

when I sleep,   you sleep
under a sandbar
swimming away

Ours

Think about the shadow of work
All our lives we were there
Just as in love
We were under someone’s shadow
Long dark scroll of hair
On the nape of a neck
When we visited the ocean we stared at it
From long rows of metal chairs
We were an army of the paralyzed
It was okay to be obliterated by wincing blue light
Is the hawk passive as it flies
Looking for blood to become hunger
Our dreams wonder to themselves
While we are asleep and paralyzed
In between asking themselves
If we are the real ones
If we are the real thieves

 

Chalk

The winter school is dark now
The chalkboard has numbers of past eons
Twombly loops of them    an older teacher’s
Appearing to sink deeper within it
Is there a deeper?
Chalk is the bones of ancient scuttling animals
Soft bottom      billions of sea years
Compressed to dream
Touch the soft breast of something that hardened
The whiteness of eyes
Children hold it in their small fingers
These are creatures that formed your eyes
Dabbling in crystals     set into a head
Various refractions
They are incarnation too
The innocence of appetite is baffling
Even these numbers want to separate out forever
It’s as if there were a place to get to
Words are onward
The chairs in its classroom are a pause in gravity
Then they start to float upwards
Children fall asleep with chalk dust on their hands
The numbers, like basilisks, start to come down
Come down off the blackboard
And go seeking prey elsewhere

Aboil, Jane

Your morning comes
as a burnt rag
thrown over the sea foam
that smells, frankly,
of sperm
and tomorrow
and to matter and tomorrow
stand balanced stones
on the spit of ocean’s edge,
where you’re the wedge,
host of barrowed wave-scroll,
hackled bone and hunger cough
of gull. Know everything
on its fast little rat’s feet
left in the wet sand’s
existential etch-a-sketch
just before all rats scream,
fly angrily into each other’s
hopeless filthy bosoms,
in the loudest direction.

Salem Harbor

before    is liquid
haw    it poisons
present notch
of arrow    time
or circumstance

notch of poison
in a letter’s    basket
as a ghost saddle
of circumstance    a wile
and now   poison

mail comes      of gelid sea
of circumstance    a wile
liquid haw      notch
in a letter’s     arrow

a sorrow      a  mistake’s

turning rope