Her Garden

She remembers how light the kisses once were
– all the ones she’s ever been given –
no more than butterflies at her mouth,
her wrists, her eyelids, her forehead,
and the back of her exposed knees.
Now there are moths at the window-screen
at dusk when she is weary of leaving her bed
to watch the last autumn leaf deserting
the wind-shaken poplar in her garden. Long ago
there was something in her, but now that thing is gone.
Gone are the boys of summer, buried
already in her plentiful lavender. Long ago
before all the kisses she was once just a moth girl
in her white slip on a cold summer night,
testing the fresh dews with one bare foot.
And she goes into her garden, where nothing is blooming;
she finds everything blooming.

 

Originally published on May 7th, 2016 on my old blog. 

Blush

It begins with a slight tremor, a rush
of wind stirring the undercurrent of
the unfathomable sea in her heart,
a rapid shift of tide perceptible
to no one but the beholder of love.
For a brief moment she tries to hide it
with downcast eyes, but this wave of rapture
boiling and swelling up inside her and
yielding to its expanding force at last
crashes down and spreads to shore, bringing her
seashells and a white horse, staining her cheeks
with the color of the precious corals.

 

Originally published on February 28th, 2016 on my old blog.

Roses

He remembered the sound of her red stilettos,
and the way her ruby lipstick slowly coming
undone by the rim of each martini glass
that she couldn’t stop kissing. That night

the desert winds blew hot from the west.
And he watched her topple from the edge
of the bar crowd into her last martini glass
holding a toothpick with two stabbed

olives between her scarlet nails looking
like an unfinished sentence trailing off
in a silk dress and looking like nothing
could ever harm her. What happened,

happened once — the kiss that didn’t last.
And it’s been years since the moment when
he lowered his lips to hers like a parched
camel leaning into a small brook to drink

the sweet water running deep inside her,
and in his arid palms her freckles came alive
like stars in the dark desert night.
As he drew her closer to the light, he heard

the sound of two olives hitting the bottom
of the martini glass. And there were roses
on the nightstand. And the sunrise
seized the whole night.

 

Originally published on February 23rd, 2016 on my old blog. 

Many Years Later

Many years later, she saw him standing
in the cereal aisle of AJ’s Fine Foods.
He was reading the nutrition label
on a box of frosted flakes, still wearing
his mucky white converse with no shoestrings.

It was nearing seven. The blue between
two clouds grew paler but never vanished.
A bulb of white light quivered, and kept on
quivering still on the blank store ceiling.
Without a sound she turned away to see

if she has found everything she wanted.
Somewhere over the baking supplies aisle,
two shopping carts bumped into each other,
two strangers, mumbling soft apologies,
carefully went on their separate ways.

 

Originally published on January 9th, 2016 on my old blog.

Sister Moon

Mother, mother,
what have you done with my sister,
the other burnt charcoal white moon
from the same pear-shaped room
where I flew out like a bald bird
singing O love love be all mine.

Her life would have been mine;
her first cry would have woken the mother
in an iceberg, let alone you; her songbird
twittering of notes calling me sister sister
would have echoed through my bedroom;
if only the night queen loved her baby moon.

But mother, your night never needed a moon.
It was lit up by bottles and cries that weren’t mine.
I went into the wood, into the witch’s hutch-room
of black air, blacker than all of your hair, mother!
There I lay awake holding the soft form of a sister
who had gone to sleep like a sweet milk bird

nested inside all this love, my tiny bluebird
of a sister, my otherwise happiness, a full moon
melting into sixteen candles, pink-rose face of my sister
blooming into yours, and I denied everything to be mine –
all your trembling bells and stubborn curls, dear mother.
You laughed and said I was the blueprint of the room

where you’d lie down to die someday, a coffin room
from which you couldn’t escape. A caged bird
forever singing blues and lullabies, O mother,
you were the canoe that sunk under a waxing moon.
But the crescent of your face fell into place with mine;
your freckles tacked to my nose like love, like my sister

never leaving the nook in your shoulder. My ghost of a sister,
a longing with elbows and knees, tiptoed from my room
to yours every starless night. This game of mine
couldn’t save me from sadness, just like a bird
couldn’t take off from your canoe under the moon
without wings; without the bells of a mother.

My happiness, your absence, my sad white paper bird
gone into a world stained by the light of an eclipsed moon.
We’ve both been so alone in our blue rooms, haven’t we, mother?

 

Originally published on December 28th, 2015 on my old blog. 

A Thousand Nightfalls

The the first ray of darkness cuts a nightly swath
through our metropolis, the sun bleeding its warmth.
What have we done to deserve such wrath.
A pale star scurries across the purple twilight.
A single mother rushes home through traffic to her wailing child.

What have we done to these saddened spots
here and there underneath the graffiti walls,
which upon inspection turns out to be
misplaced youths and mushrooms that grow
quietly under the bone-white moonlight. What have we done

to the man sitting alone in the bar, disappearing
bit by bit, untouched gin, loneliest thing. He lives
quietly without attachments, like a blown dandelion seed,
listening each night to the drips of espresso, pretending
it’s rain, it’s rain in the green terrain! What have we done

to these driftwoods floating into our harbor – candlesticks
for our glittering candelabrum. There are no elms or songbirds,
only jagged steel pegs and a postal code. Stars plummet
to our bedsteads like death. What have we done
to deserve these bursts of bright lights

falling like blessings, falling
like a thousand radiantly gilded mornings.