The Island

On a warm Wednesday I went to Ellis Island alone. That morning I poked the yoke of my husband’s sunny-side-up, and burnt his toasts on purpose. On hands, on knees, on chafed discontent, I crawled all the way to Miss Liberty’s crowned head. I’ve often had dreams like this. Blue veins of oceans pumping salt-water into my wounded canoe. I shall never make it to her alive, I’ve traded my paddles for the low simmering kettle expectant of boiling so I could thaw this damn chicken for the dinner party where I shall be red-lipped, high-heeled and properly elusive. But I shall never make it to her alive, not this moment when the jungle-red sun has been hushed, and my soapy hands are clasping the soiled collar of an ill-fitted and tedious shirt with such stubbornness. I scrub it into moonrise whiteness, so white that I could almost start over in my weightless sleep. My dream takes me to the island – the stone – lipped woman married to the hands of the mason who sculpted her into perfect stillness. I touch her bare petrous toes, they are cold as my own. She is close – so close that the burning torch in her hand could almost be mine.

 

Originally published in Sweet Tree Review, Winter 2016. 

Sixth Piece

You see how –
one moon
orbits one earth,
against all reasons, unaware
of beginnings or endings,
witnessed by a universe
of joyous stars.

And that is how –
I have always loved you
under the constant moon
as we walked down
the long, thin, twinkling
orange grove –
I have loved your bashful smile,
against all reasons, unaware
of beginnings or endings.

The Pathos of An Attic

I rarely go up there anymore.
Too many shards and tatters
jutted out, like an obtusely ill-grown tooth
scraping the membrane
of my tender memories.

Those days were young
like an unbroken promise, we sat up there
together in a great chair that could fit two,
with a book of fables that never rung true.
Our kisses went on under July’s sunlight,
against all possible endings
and the moon.
Quiet ripples of endless summer nights,
and her dress was drenched in sweet wine.
She was made of ringlets of laughters,
made of the scent of an apple orchard.
She was made of all good things
that slipped through my fingers.

I rarely go up there anymore.
Why would I?
To sit in that empty chair,
and gather pots of dirty daffodils?
To read those moth-eaten letters,
and utter sentences with no arrival?
To be scolded by that cranky old piano
desperately missing her touch?
Or to be drowned yet again in the immense silence,
still more immense without her?

All day I rummage through the other parts of the house –
the den’s nose, the kitchen’s fingertips,
the bedroom’s tear ducks.
All day I rummage through my body
for a sad corner, for a cigarette,
for a blue dream without her presence,
until the attic is as far as she is to me,
a distant nebulous star.

At nightfall, I sit upon the broken staircase,
palms dusty, sorrows over.
The wind quickens to a new horizon.
I see myself forgotten.

I love her still among those shredded things.
But I rarely go up there anymore.

 

Originally published in Visual Verse, Vol 02 – Chapter 12

Seasons

By the end of summer,
my breath hangs in mid-air,
pale, slow, and full of watermelon seeds.
Days grow impatient, hurrying into deep valleys
of dead fireflies, damp and iridescent.
I grow cold and silent.

Autumn gains momentum. Everyday
somber bells toll for the march of wheat stalks
in the golden field of over-ripened hunger.
The pregnant pumpkin, greatly confused,
gives birth to a shivering life
vague in meaning.
Things return to order –
plums dead, birds nameless, fingers callous and lovers over.
Yet the scent of wet lavenders
from faraway corners
stirs up curious whispers. But oh,
don’t be silly, summer is over. Listen-
here come the violent gallops of
winter, invincible as god’s plan.
Its weighty hooves punch through the ashes of man,
through the leaves of a dead autumn, through
the cries of a grey lone wolf, through grooves of sorrows,
until nothing falls to the hands we raise up.

I, of withered spirit and hardened veins, retreat into
my vanished self, gathering silence
upon more silence, to my unanswered questions:
why do sprouts turn to flowers,
then back to weeds;
why do children grow tall and brave,
then bald and afraid.
Why do we cling to what life can not give back?
This infinite circle, and this disillusion
of death and nothingness,
like two star-crossed songbirds,
shall forever lament upon our sordid graves.

When the seeds of the past take root, spring
from earth a quick sensation – vicissitudes of seasons
kick open the fat belly of discontent, palpitating
with springtime urges.
It pleases me so much to see
the colors of hydrangeas descend from the sky,
as I sit here by my open window,
unwinding the yarns of a melancholy mind.
There is a young child in my garden
petting an old dog of a nameless collar,
rosebud cheeks against a wind-beaten tail.
How my heart begins to flutter,
breaking loose in that original spasm,
as I see fireflies
spring up from the child’s fingers.

 

Originally published on October 4th, 2015 on my old blog.