as a tree that wildly grows and puts out bud after bud until ruddy fruit cluster upon each branch like light bulbs. Dark-suited birds eat freely from the higher branches, often leaving most of the fruit untouched. Where there isn't enough, low-hanging fruit belong to creatures without wings.
"Naming, however kind, is always an act of estrangement." ~ Aracelis Girmay brown the soil, brown the sand we call sable that water paints before it recedes into itself; brown the shutters of heaven from which the eyes of ancients regard the world they left with us. brown the sides of wooden ships swelled with elegies of blind ambition, so certain of following the fateful stars. brown the beautiful bark of cassia shavings, the dark- tipped nails of clove, the red-tinged roots of galangal. burnish the sides of brass hawk bells until you can no longer tell their gleam from gold. the reefs are lined with coral, the straits with subterranean eyes and mangrove roots. crack open a rock to learn of lineage— turn up the earth, run your brown fingers along the burns and fading scars.
Blood cells are born in the marrow. They flood the columns of the pelvis, the ladders of the spine, the bones armoring the breast and its collection of soft organs. Somewhere in the factory, a lever or switch flips the numbers, electrifies the circuitry, multiplies. One day you're born or wake with too many lunettes; unchecked, they'd proliferate so skin bruises easy, as if a crimson dew formed beneath its outer walls. I don't know how to keep you from this delirium that seethes within, mostly unseen. In early morning light, I scan your body for tell- tale marks, watch as breath curls around the curve of your throat: in the shape of a stone fruit, in the guise of a hive clotted thick with syrup. Aspirate, from aspiratio: an exhalation. How a mouth forms the sound of audible breath, the low hum of a quiet engine.
Spores that flower along the grassy edge: bread-like and brown, fruit of the lightning. I don't talk to God much these days except through words scratched on the sill. Of questions, of rants, and bottled pleas: more than enough to fill empires of pages. You think I play in the dirt when I keep to my silent labors —more than enough to fill empires of pages; of questions, of rants, and bottled pleas. Except through words scratched on the sill, I don't talk to God much these days. Bread-like and brown, fruit of the lightning: spores that flower along the grassy edge.
"...for the world is laboring to eclipse us" ~ D. Bonta As waterfall— rain of wings and bodies that did not perish, purling from the arms of pine: clouds that feed on milkweed and wildflowers, that filter light down to the forest floor. What bright-striped tribes, what vapory tapestries made to make themselves over every season. Who taught each one to bear one flimsy pane of light, one flap of sound through the bars? A maw opens at the top of the canopy, waiting for the unbearable cascade of beauty: for now, this certainty that they will come, until they don't.
About the hawk and the bluejay with the torn wing dangling from its beak; about sugars in the blood, how too much may in the end prove lethal. And about the mandible, the skull's only movable bone, faithful to the one task it understands— From this distance, we wouldn't have heard the click and snap of the hinge; not even the final tremor that fluffed the jay's neck feathers. Aren't we built for all kinds of potential purpose, something that presents an occasion to which we might rise? Raptor, from rapere, meaning to seize or take by force. Also the swoon before the moment of release or submission: a rapture. Which is not to say there is no grief or grieving; nor that no other blue will ever flutter across the sky.
A cosmic day is longer than any of our ordinary days: delirium of time ticking in expanding circles, distributing the slow-built honey of the universe. Telephone coil, endless transmitting chain drive, celestial ladder: the bounded seas and rivers' continuous movements shadowing the heavens, partitioning these puny hours. What is the actual length of wars, of the track by which both soldiers and prisoners return? And the years wrapped as circlets of gold around ring fingers, or the time it takes for a branch to break out in doubloons of persimmon? Smoke from a thurible lofts and holds in the air: threads of frankincense write a long letter in the coals after burning. What is it we hold on our tongues, mouthing love for the other? Echo of bodies that cleaved together: outlasting the swing of the chain, its pulleys, crescents, counterweights.
Hemlock and Queen Anne's lace, bird's nest; long-toothed parsnips sunk in loose soil. Every world, every time I've lived through, has been edged with darkness. Our bodies, streaked in rainforest hues: shadowed by spoonbills, streaked bulbuls, bleeding heart pigeons. Yet even when unaware, my body was becoming fluent in defiance. Dear world, would you care about what we'll call each other when no one is looking, listening?
City of bell towers, of clappers struck together to praise the mud out of which they were delivered. The damp leaves of willows tremble toward their hallmark shimmering. Saints stand on rooftops in waning light, their stone garments almost softening. Attend the gestures that survive the centuries: hand open in welcome, hand gently warding off. Lifting a face out of layers of shadow as if some things weigh nothing at all.
Father, you were the most high magistrate of superstition, dying intestate because you feared making a will would hasten the end. Before the end, your palms came together every morning; your mouth tumbled each round bead of prayer until they lay smooth in a heap again. My hand hovers, uncertain, above the key to complete any transaction. It's you I miss, not what wasn't there; not the wealth you wanted to bequeath.