I dig her up and plop her down in a wicker chair. She’s going to make apple sauce and I’m going to get drunk. She’s cutting worms out of the small green apples from the back yard and I’m opening up a bottle. It erects like a tower in the city of my mouth. The way she makes apple sauce it has ragged strips of skin and spreads thickly over toast. It’s infamous; eating it is as close to God as I’m going to get, but I don’t tell her. There’s a dishtowel wrapped around her head to keep her jaw from falling slack— Everything hurts. But I don’t tell her that either. I have to stand at the callbox and see what words I can squeeze in. I’m getting worried. If I dig her up and put her down in the wicker chair I’d better be ready for the rest of the family to make a fuss. I better bring her back right. The whole house smells of cinnamon and dust. We don’t speak. She’s piling the worms up in a bowl and throwing them back into the yard.
Some nights she comes to act as courier,
midwife to our own skills.
Emily, come like a UFO to implant her genius in us.
Our Queen Mab, condemned to be the only woman mentioned
in the lyric omnibuses of her epoch;
easy scapegoat of men’s centuries,
she stood in for all women.
So now, of course, she comes to blow off steam
in the privacy of the green room.
All those living years she walked from yard to yard,
gardens flourished in opium poppies;
went out at night to see the owls and wed her genius.
She applied her passion like a hot iron sword.
And no one can take off her clothes, ever—she comes
and her language takes them off of us,
not piece by piece, not fumbling buttons,
but all at once in a single shot,
her tiny poems like grenades that fit in the hand.
And we here bask in the debris,
stripped down to our private parts,
the snow white of the bone, the authentic corpse in heat.
The absolute original.