Are you still writing about —?

Yes, I am still writing

about my mother. About my

mothers. About the ways

in which they became

who they were to me; but

long before that: to, for,

and from each other. How

not even the years can fade

the quality of their scent,

the gestures that remain

embedded in every piece

of furniture, in every green

ceramic mixing bowl that survived

the years of their marriage to make

its way into mine, with all

the hairline cracks spread across

the surface. Yes, I am still

writing about my questions, about

the thousand thousand ways a whisper

carries even in the absence of wind

from out of the depths of a cabinet

emptied of its secrets. Because

the end of a story is only

convention, because convention

dictates whose names may appear

on registers and documents

and deeds, as well as who

doesn't get to inherit.

But inherit we all do—if not

the shape of an eyebrow

then the places moles turn up,

giveaway signs on the map

of the weathering body: saying

you too have a penchant for men

of a certain age, or you too

love the texture and frill

of a garment for the way

it seduces the mind into thinking

it might forget what histories

groped and penetrated you in that

loamy dark before you came to be.


"A single swarm can contain up to 150 million
locusts per square kilometer of farmland." - Associated Press

They are not dark tears from a pharaoh's eyes,
nor a belt of bees unloosed from a titan's
distant tower. Their flight path is not
a channel clogged with vessels of trade
or commerce. They are together
a dark body on whose surface is a mouth
made of very fine short hairs. They sense
the quality of air and can hover
for days and days in the wind.
They are said to be patient
and can withstand extended periods
of deprivation. Along the edges of the sky
they find small openings in which
they can spiral without cease. How many
creatures can hear the sounds of the world
and of frightened cows through the ear
in their abdomen, or feel the color green?


Up, and to the office, where busy all the morning. Here my Lord Bruncker would have made me promise to go with him to a play this afternoon, where Knipp acts Mrs. Weaver’s great part in “The Indian Emperour,” and he says is coming on to be a great actor. But I am so fell to my business, that I, though against my inclination, will not go. At noon, dined with my wife and were pleasant, and then to the office, where I got Mrs. Burroughs ‘sola cum ego, and did tocar su mamelles so as to hazer me hazer. She gone, I to my business and did much, and among other things to-night we were all mightily troubled how to prevent the sale of a great deal of hemp, and timber-deals, and other good goods to-morrow at the candle by the Prize Office, where it will be sold for little, and we shall be found to want the same goods and buy at extraordinary prices, and perhaps the very same goods now sold, which is a most horrid evil and a shame. At night home to supper and to bed with my mind mighty light to see the fruits of my diligence in having my business go off my hand so merrily.

morning is in India

and tomorrow the candle will be sold

for the same old light

to see the fruit in my hand

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Tuesday 15 January 1667.


Talk, we say. 
Why don't we know
how to talk. Nobody says
anything, or nobody says
what anyone really wants
to hear or to say under
the words. It's like
trying to figure out how
to lift the hem of rain
as it lengthens, coming
down. We cup our hands:
there is so much of it
we cannot hold.

Therefore, Am

Mount Vesuvius eruption: Extreme heat 
"turned man's brain to glass" - BBC News

Before the blanket and surge,
before the seared
arms of trees. We would have been
face-down in bed, lying
along the sandbar, wondering
at the rattle in the throat
of the sky and the sudden
radiance, distilling all
we ever knew or remembered.
Uncovered from sand—obsidian
sliver, spherulites, feldspar.

The war on darkness

Up, and to the office, where busy getting beforehand with my business as fast as I can. At noon home to dinner, and presently afterward at my office again. I understand my father is pretty well again, blessed be God! and would have my Br John come down to him for a little while. Busy till night, pleasing myself mightily to see what a deal of business goes off of a man’s hands when he stays by it, and then, at night, before it was late (yet much business done) home to supper, discourse with my wife, and to bed. Sir W. Batten tells me the Lords do agree at last with the Commons about the word “Nuisance” in the Irish Bill, and do desire a good correspondence between the two Houses; and that the King do intend to prorogue them the last of this month.

up and to war
under a god of business

man’s hands stay the night
our common nuisance

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Monday 14 January 1667.


of the bees from hives
collapsing from within;
of the mouse-sized dunmarts
and cockatoos, the wallabies
and koalas that firefighters
worked feverishly to save;
of the towns that woke
as the mouth of a crater
spewed pent-up heat
and ash; of the blood or
of the bowels and their
discharge from the body:
of the organs made empty
or void; of the place
or position one used to hold
but is now forced to abandon
or give out; of withdrawal
from a place in some
orderly fashion,
for safety or in


(Lord’s day). Up, and to church, where young Lowther come to church with Sir W. Pen and his Lady and daughter, and my wife tells me that either they are married or the match is quite perfected, which I am apt to believe, because all the peoples’ eyes in the church were much fixed upon them. At noon sent for Mercer, who dined with us, and very merry, and so I, after dinner, walked to the Old Swan, thinking to have got a boat to White Hall, but could not, nor was there anybody at home at Michell’s, where I thought to have sat with her et peut être obtain algo de her-which I did intend para essayer. So home, to church, a dull sermon, and then home at my chamber all the evening. So to supper and to bed.

if they married the match
to eyes fixed upon noon

and the old
swan to a boat

could any hell have
a dull sermon

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Sunday 13 January 1667.


Up, still lying long in bed; then to the office, where sat very long. Then home to dinner, and so to the office again, mighty busy, and did to the joy of my soul dispatch much business, which do make my heart light, and will enable me to recover all the ground I have lost (if I have by my late minding my pleasures lost any) and assert myself. So home to supper, and then to read a little in Moore’s “Antidote against Atheisme,” a pretty book, and so to bed.

lying long I make
my heart light

the ground my antidote
to bed

Erasure poem derived from The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Saturday 12 January 1667.

Depth Perception

There's an experiment I read about
where they laid a sheet of Plexiglas

like a bridge between two raised,
solid surfaces, and coaxed babies

to crawl across to the other side.
Some of them trustingly made

their way; a few were hesitant,
because they were confused

about the drop they perceived
though their hands told them

there should be nothing to doubt.
What is space anyway but a checker-

board of moments that light
can melt or fracture? A staircase

swings around to the other side
of the hall and back down to its

starting point. A hand is a hand
but a pair can turn into wings.