I have gazed the black flower blooming
her animal eye. Gacela oscura. Negra llorona.
Along the clayen banks I follow her-astonished,
gathering grief’s petals she lets fall like horns.
Why not now go toward the things I love?
Like Jacob’s angel, I touched the garnet of her wrist,
and she knew my name. And I knew hers—
it was Auxocromo, it was Cromóforo, it was Eliza.
It hurtled through me like honeyed-rum.
When the eyes and lips are touched with honey
what is seen and said will never be the same.
Eve took the apple in that ache-opened mouth,
on fire and in pieces, from the knife’s sharp edge.
In the photo her fist presses against the red-gold
geometry of her thigh. Black nylon, black garter,
unsolvable mysterium—I have to close my eyes to see.
Achilles chasing Hektor round the walls of Ilium
three times. How long must I circle
the high gate above her knees?
Again the gods put their large hands in me,
move me, break my heart like a clay jar of wine,
loosen a beast from some darklong depth—
my melancholy is hoofed. I, the terrible beautiful
Lampon, a shining devour-horse tethered
at the bronze manger of her collarbones.
I do my grief work with her body—labor
to make the emerald tigers in her hips leap,
lead them burning green
to drink from the violet jetting her.
We go where there is love, to the river,
on our knees beneath the sweet water.
I pull her under four times
until we are rivered. We are rearranged.
I wash the silk and silt of her from my hands—
now who I come to, I come clean to, I come good to.
Copyright © 2015 by Natalie Diaz. Originally published in Poem-a-Day on April 21, 2015, by the Academy of American Poets.
Soft as a Claude painting, the yellow sky tonight—
trees in the parking lot still thick, though the air, yes,
has an edge, the honey was solid in the jar
when I opened it this morning, found a single ant
frozen in the dunes, stunned by sweetness.
Can you really die of sweetness? Hard
to say yes, though I want to, looking up at these clouds
that make my heart jump: oh joy in seeing
though I can’t touch, like the girl repeating persimmon
as the waitress in the diner tells her about a tree
at the top of the hill she used to see, how beautiful
that vivid orange fruit was all at once.
Can’t touch them, but I see them in her eyes as
she remembers persimmons. Maybe that was
my mistake: thinking every love was different, a fruit
inside its own clear mason jar—my love, her love, his,
all separate as the trees they fell from. Maybe love
is more contagion, bubbles in a bathtub slowly
swelling, all the little circles drifting, gliding
gently into each other until they burst, until
nothing’s left but foam, the sound of rushing water.
Copyright © 2018 Annie Kim. This poem originally appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Summer 2018. Used with permission of the author.