Afternoon Lecture

His sinewed limbs stretch outwards and
his concave chest rises slowly
as it does when he lies next to his wife
under a lemon ceiling fan in a
well-to-do neighborhood
just over the hill.

A moment of clarity occurs
perfect focus
when he rubs the heel of his hand
against the chalkboard, coating it
in yellow dust. This is the truth,
held tight in his near-palm ready
for the taking: our open mouthed
grins sit poised, students a little
too enthralled by Eliot’s sex life.

He climbs mountains,
wants to devour the world whole,
wishes he could suck the golden marrow
from the Colorado blue bungalow sky.
He calls us, lambs, one by one.
He soothes in tongues like rivers.
He glides on air.

His sinewed limbs stretch outwards
as I imagine they did when
he stood on the edge of that
Southern dairy field years ago, sun streaming.
Breeze whistling.


Snow Curds

One must resist the urge
temptation to blur the vision
seeing only sky illuminated, bathed
in white: one must be
careful. Keep each drift in focus
as the diagonal flurry
fills an empty world:
too yellow in summer
too dry in fall
too newborn in the spring.

Now the earth
is seamlessly round
motherly, and one takes
pleasure in precautions,
the huddled togetherness
because it is a way of communicating I
need you—we become each other’s
duck mothers, squawking
as we bundle up and scuttle
along the frozen walks
to get bread from the small grocery.

And as we return one must
catch flying bits on an upturned palm
to observe: what seemed thick curds
impenetrable, billowing full as
they hovered now fade and liquefy
when they touch warm skin.

One must remember
the power we hold:
antidotes to the earth’s
frozen tears, turning them
human and salty
as they touch our fingers
in the night.


War Novels

They have agreed
to touch softly without sound,
pressing lips
together in the confines of a
nine by eleven room: this is their
sanctuary. In its simplicity
a sacred dwelling,
folded dark bed sheets
empty floor empty windows empty
through which she sees
what will come after—
she will travel far from him
and to make the pain less, she will think
of their story as a war novel:
she off in the trenches
remembering his warmth and how
he loved her toes of all things
he remaining, unsure whether to hope
or fear for her return.