Gacela of Mornings after Rain

Midway through summer, when crepe myrtle
blossoms are most profuse before they fall—

In the center of the house, there's no window from which
to view the torrent that unpins them before their fall.

Rain compounds its sums on the roof: brittle hail of
asterisks fragmenting at the core before their fall.

That's how we come into the world and also how we leave:
bright blush, loud cry, one last kiss before the fall.

Will you ease my coverlet, will you brush my hair
and fill my jars again with copper before I fall?

Casida of Always Wanting

Do I want milk, do I want apples,
    or do I want a plate of sliced green

mangos to dip in salted shrimp?
    Is the sleeve of one shirt torn,

do the hems of my trousers
    tongue open above my ankles?

Has the sea come with a message,
    has the gull lifted the bandage

from its cheek? The bees that forage
    in the coffee groves bring back

a honey tinged with bittersweet. Their
    industry thickens in the jar

and I return night after night to dip
    my finger into its depths.


Listen to the Recordings on SoundCloud of Gorillas Singing Little Food Songs to Themselves

A scientist describes one of these
as the equivalent of a sigh of
contentment, and the other a low

frequency hum. Also, how adorable
is it that they make up different
songs for different foods? Perhaps

not so adorable: how it's mainly
alpha male silverbacks that sing
to express enjoyment while

they eat; how typical. What about
the females—do they hum the songs
they compose under their breath,

do they sing with other females,
together in a bower of green stalks
or by the water as they groom each

other's hair? What they do is
supposed to show how, like ours,
their bodies instinctively

make sounds to indicate
awareness of life's varied
textures and flavors: moans

or yelps, prolonged groans
that inform anyone within ear-
shot that here in the mouth is

a moment of such particular
relish, or in the toenail
a splinter of unbearable

agony. Who knows if they call
each other names like sweet pea
or cupcake, sugar pie or honey-

bun; if it's the ripe calabash
or the pulpy soursop that elicits
the most ecstatic songs, second only

to the gurgling that infants make as they
drink the milk, before their eyes glaze
and their heads loll back in pleasure.

And Honey

As in Land of, or half 
the name my people gave this
place when they imagined

how it would feel to arrive
at a destination different from
one ordained at birth—

It's easy to admire those who have no
difficulty securing passage, easing
into a tongue practiced in schools

with toilets and running water. It's easy
to shame those who believed the lies, who sold
the family farm, the water buffalo, the agate

beads and heirloom jars. Those who traded
two seasons for four, one leafed in russet and
gold as vegetation entered into a long quietus

they came to understand didn't necessarily mean
death. Apples redden and fall in a hundred orchards,
and bees propel themselves into a riot of flowers.

All that must be gathered is nearly level with
the earth, and requires a bending. All I'm saying
is some don't need to think twice, dipping the spoon

into the sweet. Some walk the rows long after sun-
down, or lower the netting over their faces before
counting the jars and hefting crates onto trucks.