Bleeding

- 1913-1989

Stop bleeding          said the knife.
I would if I          could said the cut.
Stop bleeding          you make me messy with this blood.
I’m sorry          said the cut.
Stop or          I will sink in farther said the knife.
Don’t          said the cut.
The          knife did not say it couldn’t help it but
it          sank in farther.
If          only you didn’t bleed said the knife I wouldn’t
have          to do this.
I know          said the cut I bleed too easily I hate
that I          can’t help it I wish I were a knife like
you and          didn’t have to bleed.
Well          meanwhile stop bleeding will you said the knife.
Yes you          are a mess and sinking in deeper said the cut I
will have          to stop.
Have you          stopped by now said the knife.
I’ve almost          stopped I think.
Why must you          bleed in the first place said the knife.
For the same          reason maybe that you must do what you
must do said          the cut.
I can’t stand                 bleeding said the knife and sank in farther.
I hate it too said         the cut I know it isn’t you it’s
me you’re lucky to be       a knife you ought to be glad about that.
Too many cuts around         said the knife they’re
messy  I don’t know how          they stand themselves.
They don’t said the cut.
You’re bleeding again.
No I’ve stopped said the cut          see you are coming out now the
 blood is drying it will rub          off you’ll be shiny again and clean.
If only cuts wouldn’t bleed          so much said the knife coming
out a little.
But them knives might become          dull said the cut.
Aren’t you still bleeding a          little said the knife.
I hope not said the cut.
I feel you are just a little.
Maybe a little but I can          stop now.
I feel a little wetness still          said the knife sinking in a
little but then coming out a          little.
Just a little maybe just enough          said the cut.
That’s enough now stop now do    you    feel better now said the knife.
I feel I don’t have to bleed to      feel I      think said the cut.
I don’t I don’t  have to       feel said       the knife drying now
becoming shiny.

More by May Swenson

Blue

Blue, but you are Rose, too,
and buttermilk, but with blood
dots showing through.
A little salty your white
nape boy-wide.  Glinting hairs
shoot back of your ears' Rose
that tongues like to feel
the maze of, slip into the funnel,
tell a thunder-whisper to.
When I kiss, your eyes' straight
lashes down crisp go like doll's
blond straws.  Glazed iris Roses,
your lids unclose to Blue-ringed
targets, their dark sheen-spokes
almost green.  I sink in Blue-
black Rose-heart holes until you
blink.  Pink lips, the serrate
folds taste smooth, and Rosehip-
round, the center bud I suck.
I milknip your two Blue-skeined
blown Rose beauties, too, to sniff
their berries' blood, up stiff
pink tips.  You're white in 
patches, only mostly Rose,
buckskin and saltly, speckled
like a sky.  I love your spots,
your white neck, Rose, your hair's
wild straw splash, silk spools
for your ears.  But where white
spouts out, spills on your brow
to clear eyepools, wheel shafts
of light, Rose, you are Blue.

Water Picture

In the pond in the park 
all things are doubled:
Long buildings hang and 
wriggle gently. Chimneys 
are bent legs bouncing 
on clouds below. A flag 
wags like a fishhook 
down there in the sky.

The arched stone bridge 
is an eye, with underlid 
in the water. In its lens 
dip crinkled heads with hats 
that don't fall off. Dogs go by, 
barking on their backs. 
A baby, taken to feed the 
ducks, dangles upside-down, 
a pink balloon for a buoy.

Treetops deploy a haze of 
cherry bloom for roots, 
where birds coast belly-up 
in the glass bowl of a hill; 
from its bottom a bunch 
of peanut-munching children 
is suspended by their 
sneakers, waveringly.

A swan, with twin necks 
forming the figure 3, 
steers between two dimpled 
towers doubled. Fondly 
hissing, she kisses herself, 
and all the scene is troubled:
water-windows splinter, 
tree-limbs tangle, the bridge 
folds like a fan.

Little Lion Face

Little lion face
I stopped to pick
among the mass of thick
succulent blooms, the twice

streaked flanges of your silk
sunwheel relaxed in wide
dilation, I brought inside,
placed in a vase.  Milk

of your shaggy stem
sticky on my fingers, and
your barbs hooked to my hand,
sudden stings from them 

were sweet.  Now I'm bold
to touch your swollen neck,
put careful lips to slick
petals, snuff up gold

pollen in your navel cup.
Still fresh before night
I leave you, dawn's appetite
to renew our glide and suck.

An hour ahead of sun
I come to find you.  You're
twisted shut as a burr,
neck drooped unconscious,

an inert, limp bundle,
a furled cocoon, your
sun-streaked aureole
eclipsed and dun.

Strange feral flower asleep
with flame-ruff wilted,
all magic halted,
a drink I pour, steep

in the glass for your
undulant stem to suck.
Oh, lift your young neck,
open and expand to your

lover, hot light.
Gold corona, widen to sky.
I hold you lion in my eye
sunup until night.