The gold March dawn
and below my window 
a man carves his car
from the snow heap
plowed up around it.
So easy not to envy
the cold muscled task

but then imagine—
feeling your heartbeat
alive like a chipmunk
at work in your chest,
imagine the whole day
arm-sore and good
with accomplishment,

the day you begin
with heavy breath
and see it linger
outside your body
like a negative of
the dark air cavity
in you like the spirit
in you like the ghost.

Related Poems

Shaking the Grass

Evening, and all my ghosts come back to me
like red banty hens to catalpa limbs
and chicken-wired hutches, clucking, clucking,
and falling, at last, into their head-under-wing sleep.

I think about the field of grass I lay in once,
between Omaha and Lincoln. It was summer, I think.
The air smelled green, and wands of windy green, a-sway,
a-sway, swayed over me. I lay on green sod
like a prairie snake letting the sun warm me.

What does a girl think about alone
in a field of grass, beneath a sky as bright
as an Easter dress, beneath a green wind?

Maybe I have not shaken the grass.
All is vanity.

Maybe I never rose from that green field.
All is vanity.

Maybe I did no more than swallow deep, deep breaths
and spill them out into story: all is vanity.

Maybe I listened to the wind sighing and shivered,
spinning, awhirl amidst the bluestem
and green lashes: O my beloved! O my beloved!

I lay in a field of grass once, and then went on.
Even the hollow my body made is gone.

True Faith

        1

Property is death: they had a body crammed in a mailbox and it was just a brown suit with bones sticking out—and fathers lost in blowing snow—and mothers drift in blowing leaves, and all the lies in any town—work was my salvation he said work was always

my

        salvation

 


        2
branches



You



Joy can

        Scream

        3

Ice and the river—"the desire to be normal is healthy": no, it isn't—can you imagine the death of the wind—can you remember the ghost of that voice—


        4
Your

        Kisses

Your

        Sky

Your

        Darkness

Your

        Sky

        5

Lavender sky, sky like whiskey—the way, the way we live in bodies—lavender sky, sky like whiskey—and to your scattered bodies go—your dream inside your face, your night inside your morning—I'll try to glint like birds behind the rain—

Ghosts

                      After Anne Sexton

 

Some ghosts are my mothers
neither angry nor kind
their hair blooming from silk kerchiefs.
Not queens, but ghosts
who hum down the hall on their curved fins
sad as seahorses.

Not all ghosts are mothers.
I’ve counted them as I walk the beach.
Some are herons wearing the moonrise like lace.
Not lonely, but ghostly.
They stalk the low tide pools, flexing
their brassy beaks, their eyes.

But that isn’t all.
Some of my ghosts are planets.
Not bright. Not young.
Spiraling deep in the dusk of my body
as saucers or moons
pleased with their belts of colored dust
& hailing no others.