impatient prayers: seabird

mama, make me one and enough.

mama I so want the water,
and tremble, long out of habit;
my heaviness rises, ready to sink,
to quell I skirt the shore.
beneath me warm dunes curve and slip
my feet arch high to swell –
to forge momentum to my balance.
o mama, make me one and enough.

mama lifted by the peering kind
I tie our crossbars underneath;
kiss-built, two by two, in song,
and brunch and tea and queer.
test stay and stead of each long plank;
I bless them bound together,
yet buckle tween the struts.
o mama, make me one and enough.

mama make me fit to launch
my salient span from sand to sky.
cast seabird single on the wind,
these winged dreams from out stale nests –
stretching, to be sure beyond the see.
o mama, make me one and enough.

mama now envelop me
lick salt my every wound –
sting and seal me from all sides.
I am the third letter and the writer all at once;
bent near double over faithful, faltering prayers.
I want the water, I want the water,
o mama, make me one and enough.

in anticipation / we are vernalised

i. echo
our September kissed me after a winter of agony
and I was leaf-tip, green and trembling;
and you were peachy keen and so patient,
no rush, no rush, no rush.

ii. homonym
we were still barely dipping toes when we went to the water
waist-deep and wet hair and braver than brave,
seaweed and sunburn be damned.
we got a whole, warm summer; a season of love,
of the intrepidation of hands and hearts
like us, and like this poem,
so much more than we planned.

iii. event horizon
when two thirds of our precious next flew like you did,
away, away, and all at once back to my arms,
autumn tempered our tenderness –
ever softer, ever stronger,
steeling ourselves as space swept stars.
our glow came home with you, across the sky,
just as I had hoped;
the days grew shorter, and we stretched to fill them with light.

iiii. vernalisation
the cold nights come again tomorrow;
see already how we draw our warm quarters,
curled safe of us and around us.
we are inking what has been,
pencilling daydreams and dates.

today we mark three seasons –
brimming eager for the fourth.

 

3.7.16

where all is still safe

carve a bath and I will come;
my heart needs the water and I can’t sleep.

the weeks since the last time are wet winter sand:
the long little days crumble to grains.
they and I are wondering
if being counted might have saved them.
still my hands were full of other hands,
and the memory of a squeeze is worth twice the sum.

now my lunch is packed, my books stack high,
and the day before me stretches far along the shore.
I have emptied out the season’s shoes
but the wind never leaves my hair.
I kiss my own brave mouth and know that this year,
salt isn’t only for sadness.

here is the box of promise,
of trepidation and treasure and the sea deep inside.
I listen. and stop. and hold it in my palm.
here is the teacup before the ocean,
this precious space before tomorrow.

new bearings / so you, so I

I think I fucked you like breathing
like, not like fireworks at all.
I can’t even light a lighter but I burned and burned for you
and you did too.
(you were so warm)

I think I fucked you like breathing.
Like, did that even happen?
Wasn’t that what I’ve been doing all these years?
How can it not be I don’t understand
how long have I been missing listening to the sound of my own chest?
(you made so much sense)

I think I fucked you like breathing,
like I was practically born doing it
– a little nudge notwithstanding,
the fat gold watch of my future now ticking in time.
(you so set me going)

I think I fucked you like breathing,
like sunlight and soft bread and ankles-shins-knees in the sea,
like everything I’ve known in my bones
was two-deep in me and in you.
(you felt so soft)

I think I fucked you like breathing,
like I couldn’t be wrong
like every thing, every gasp was me
filling my lungs and my longing with clear, sweet air.
(you were so right)

forgotten lore: impatient prayers, a return to

I need wringing out like a washcloth,
but I mustn’t leak any more:
my green eyes stinging,
salt mounds pooling pink around me.
I made jars and lamps and slabs from it
but they just won’t sell, this time of year.
something keeps telling me I need more water.

last night I gathered my nets for rinsing,
measured movements for self-conditioning under freshwater rules.
every inch of this room, from temperature to pressure
is at careful control and conscious whim
and still!
there the dash of my heart a-charging, a thousand knots and rocks ahead.

(mama oceana I invoke thee, I invoke thee
your devotee upon which to crash and break.
mark your crest on my car floor and my towels,
make me the safe-again tide in your arms:
mama make this swelling, my bittersweet welling
no wreck, but some part of your plan.)

muse-ic

when I bubble over in copper and gold
put me in the bath to catch all the happy run-off
the overflow tinkling down my chest, the swell of my belly –
even when they catch in unusual shapes,
I would you might think how smooth my stones could be,
this one little river-heart in the wide Feeling sea.

when I trace my feathered sketches in five unnamed colours
do not breathe rough from your lips,
or shake your head –
they will blow away
I will blow away
I and they together trembling flames,
a rainbow of light in ceremonial breeze.

in fairy glow wine and my transient grace
I would you might join my offering here:
my little prayer to music and to meaning all my own,
between verses and keys and always just outside my bare English grasp.

(do you understand?)

I am shaking making small print words on your wall
this temple of inscription, invocation, benefaction
my serif joining times and places, rhymes and spaces
gift tags on letters,
to you, from tunes I’ve known.

songs for evie: out of the woods (ii)

I want a room of forest with an adjustable sun
and two spots in the clearing,
so you won’t have to practice on your own.
where one by one, as you’re ready,
I can bring you muzzled memories from my own trial.

now don’t expect miracles, daughter of mine,
I can’t and I won’t do your homework.
but I have a rhyme, a rhythm, a ring,
a reason to believe –
wrapped gifts for you now that you need them,
your everyday evidence made manifest.
and I will stay through hurt and heat while you learn,
until you know, even in the dark
how to warm and weave your fear back into faith.
and when your suns come up
I’ll be here, in your clear.

(at sixteen my dad said
kick it up to fifty and slam the brakes
so I can’t forget what it feels like
to squeal and skid and still stop.
one day you will know your heart like I know my station wagon –
but that will take time, and trust, and tinkering.
here are the keys.)

songs for evie: out of the woods (i)

I want a room of forest with an adjustable sun
where I can take you when you’re eight.
locked for your early peaceful years
like my grandfather’s crawlspace, the attics in your books
a place to give you at the…. at the time.

it will never be right, my sweet first –
you’ll always be too young to have my nightmares.

but it will come, I fear,
and I do not know how many midnights I will spend
with your tiny shaking shoulders in my arms
and how many mornings looking at you,
crying too,
patching the scratches from your monsters;
their branchthorn teeth, their low gravel growl
the way the dark sprawls even beyond their reach
(oh, I remember).
I can’t clear your mind, my darling
but I can help you learn the difference
between a shadow and a shape.