What is Meant by the Land

When an old woman says it, the plot of black earth
    where love has unfurled
like the fiery feathers of the celosia, busting wet like
        the pepper-bells,
spilling light like the husks that hold the yellow pearls.
She has cupped it in her hands like a baby, she has fed
        all her babies on it;
they eat of its unfading colors and are unfading in their
        turn.

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We lost a baby

I say by way of explanation
To my colleague in the Math Department,
A justification for the
Discrepancy in the math:
Five pregnancies but only four at home,
Three girls and a boy.
I want credit for that fifth pregnancy,
The hardest of them all, even though half as long,
As if it were some achievement to put on my resume
Instead of my body’s greatest failing.

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the death of fire

“For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to weep, a time to laugh; a time to mourn, a time to dance…”
~ Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

Image by debowscyfoto from Pixabay

 

Ashes to ashes,
we all fall down.

We are born delicate, by death of Fire,
the flames no longer leaping on the hearth,
nor spinning in embroidered skirts of smoke
to the wild music of a living dance,
to the beat of drums and merry hearts.

No, the dance ceases;
the laughter is an echo.
We repent in rags and bathe in soot
for the sheer anticipation of
the death of God.

Brand your mark across my forehead, Dying One.
Tattoo it here, on mind, on heart, on body:
Forty days and forty nights of
                  remembering and mourning.
Forty days and forty nights of
                  hunger in body and soul.
Forty days and forty nights of
                  judgment by fire and flood.
Forty days and forty nights of
                  silence screaming in my ears.
Forty days and forty nights
                  is not that much to ask of me except that
                               I’m hungry.
                               I’m hungry, Lord:

                  for soot,
                  for silence,
                  for sorrow,
                  for salvation.

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Over Heard

My daughter’s dance class:
A brave octet of blue-clad torsos, all
Delicate and strung tight with snare drum ribs.
They gallop like crabs

Gone dizzy with light.
A lone piano chord sends them spinning.
We’re born from beneath a throb of human
Song. We hear sound raw,

Drink it in gulps, and
Wheel away laughing.

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Instead of a Silver Spoon

The cat in the cradle
stole my tongue,
and I’ve been silent
ever since.

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The Late Onset of Gravity

Miss Eloise’s signature
was scrawled upon the check beneath
Her dead husband’s printed name:
Seventy-five dollars, given
For someone to run the microphones
For the eulogy.

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