Dahlia

She’d never seen them, these other flowers.
They were his once, carefully picked into
his spring. Their fragrances were treasured
and preserved for a while – a season or two.

She knew their kind, their beautiful pedigrees –
tulips, roses, lilies of the valley,
even a few blushing daisies
that were anything but shy.

No, she didn’t have to imagine how
they gave him pleasures, and how
some love-struck lilacs even foolishly
attempted at surviving his winter .

Surely he’s learned, certain things
they tried to teach him.

For he understood her, although somewhat
shallowly. He knew her climate, her sun and
moon, her ebb and tide in the evening dew;  and he knew
how to make her curl softly into the night…

Yet she sensed that he was quite
unaware of the strength of her kind; she wondered
if he knew just how deep she could
cut her stem into the dark arid soil, and then bloom

Alas, the man’s formidable desire
for anything that he could not grasp.
So, she was not surprised when,
coming home, she saw them lying at her doorway.

How lovely they are still, she thought.
roses, tulips, lilies of the valley, and other
withered memories, their petals plucked
and thrown at her feet, a homage, and she knew

that the weight of this love has crushed him.
Slowly –
she trod through years of his love and regret,
following the floral trail into his secret garden,

and there he was,
already fallen
down on one knee
for her.

Prey

Well, if you must know –

my thighs still burned
from the bite of your charm, these teeth
marks under my skins – did you have to
pounce on me with such force?

Don’t come any closer. I think you should
stop looking at me the way that you do. Those
soft brown eyes are luring me to
play your dangerous game. I know
you want me, the whole Serengeti
knows you want me, oh
stop that growling, as if you are
the only one burning up here.

Why did I stop running? I guess
I should have kept running. Away from you. Somehow
you’ve cornered me into the mouth
of your cave, the lion’s den, you clever beast.
The night is falling deep, and over on that tall fig tree,
there is a very old owl, looking at us. Amused.
If you come any closer, I will run. I will. I will.

I might.

Do you know
that the rolling plains are whispering naughty
little ideas into my ears? Are these the sort
of ideas that you have all along. Tell me how long
are we going to stand here staring
right into each others’ eyes? Is it
my move now? Why does the wind
insist on blowing right at this moment through
your mane? Your perfect beautiful dusky red mane. I mean,
how am I supposed to resist all of this? How am I
supposed to resist…you? You are a disaster; you are
an earthquake; you are everything I crave
but shouldn’t. My knees are getting weak. It is getting late. Even
that old nosy owl has flown home, so why don’t you just
come here, you beautiful danger, take me back
to your dark cave. Show me disasters; show me
earthquakes; show me everything I crave but shouldn’t –
terrible, delicious, regrettable, feverish things…

Oh
did you hear that?
The sound of my surrender
has driven the whole jungle wild.

The Storm

The ocean gathers himself,
shoulders raised, crazed waves
spewing from his brutal mouth, swallowing stars
as he comes. Shaken, stirred,
the shore quivers to receive him, her love.
Her lips still bruised by his gnawings, but there she goes –
there she goes into the rushing beast of the night.
In the lives of those who love each other,
the storm always come too sudden. Quick as whips,
the lightnings tear the sky in shreds; wounded
shreds to be sewn back together
by the red moon and a watchful owl.
They already know. They always knew. When it is over,
the ocean – his violent heart broken –
laps soft kisses at the shore’s fingers,
knees, dreams and never ever again. In the lives
of those who love each other, the morning after the storm
always promises to brighter; brighter than
yesterday; brighter than all those days
that furl into remorse; nameless remorse
born in the name of love;
the kind of love
that makes us rage, and destroy;
destroy everything we love.

The Waiting Room

Once he heard it, he felt relieved.
Not sad, not mad, not even afraid, but relieved.
Relieved that he was finally falling
into this black hole he had been
tiptoeing around for months, not knowing whether
this dull yet ever present pain inside
his body that he dared not touch
or speak of was the beginning
of an end. How many nights has he lain
awake on the cold bathroom tiles, slowly
trailing his fingers to its core, feverish
with doubt, unable to say one true thing about it.
Once or twice, he sensed something, a pulse, a rhythm,
a dark quickening that was unlike life. It was
unlike anything he had ever known. Afterwards
the nurse came out to talk to him, with carefully chosen
words that meant to give him just enough
to go on hoping that he might be the exception,
one in a hard million, a lucky star. It was cruel.
Nevertheless, he listened, and smiled,
almost too cheerfully, at the nurse, while
silently congratulating himself for no longer
having to be burdened with this fear
of falling into the black hole. Now that
the fall has begun, he can just keep on falling
until he meets it at the end. And when there was
nothing more to say, he left the waiting room,
and strode into the crisp autumn afternoon.
The fearless angel and the wicked dragon
alone in the dark wood.

Vanish

Tonight I baked a raspberry pie
under the poetic moonlight,
washed and dried dirty dishes pretending
they are my blooming peonies,
and I put out a fresh roll of toilet paper
in the kids’ bathroom before lying down to dream
all that could have been
in this pantomime of life
if only I could live my own self
in my own pretty lilac words; never vanish
into a life without making a mess; never yield
to the waning season like the soured crops.
They may have been right all along: sooner or later
the great wind rushes under us all, and winter comes
to take the red fever out of every autumn leaf, but remember my heart
O my heart that has gone soft and blue, like the cratered moon,
once thumped, ached, and burned for a fevered future.

 

Originally published on March 24, 2017 on my old blog. 

Love Song

For Hudson

When you rest your face
in my arm’s hollow,

all the echoes have stopped.
The world has become quiet since

the eagles returned to the valley.
I try to recall the last time I was so powerless

in the face of something so small
fastened to me like a frightened milk mouse, forever

vulnerable and impossible to hurt,
and I guess I never knew it

until your first feeble cry
raises an answer in me,

so much like love
it must be love.

A Woman’s Villanelle

This is the town with the house with the woman with the fire inside
She arranges her mornings with needles and flowers, becoming quieter
Everyday wishing there is more to life than this great lone pine

They do not talk to her anymore, nor do they visit her with apple pies
The future is a gray seagull, they say, the sun has gone to another
Nameless town with a house with a woman with a fire inside

Over the hills a cruel wind blows, she sits and listens, still as life
The moon usurps the sun in her white gown, killing the last sputters
Everyday wishing there is more to life than this great lone pine

She watches the wind overturn the wheelbarrow and the rusty bike
She rides at night like a golden broom, a naked witch, hunting after
The small town with the house with the woman with the fire inside

When the wind ceases, the sun bobs back with a gold ring and a lie
She buries the old thorns and stitches a new rose out of the guileless feathers
Everyday wishing there is more to life than this great lone pine

Who’s to say she won’t triumph over these tempests that agonize
Her soul, at first a mystery, and then a revelation, spurring her
Everyday to hope for more in life than this great lone pine
In this town with her house with herself with this fire inside

 

Originally published on September 3, 2016 on my old blog. 

Eleventh Piece

The white frost is gone.
The lemon tree has grown.

I want to talk to you about your heart
that you’ve been neglecting lately like a cold.

And you don’t even know.

The white frost is gone.
The lemon tree has grown

so much stronger since you were here
last spring with seeds, pebbles and a hope.