February

I’m climbing out of this season, fingernails ragged, belly soft. I tuck a stem of dried mint behind my ear to remind myself.

Once, I bared my shoulders. The bottom of my feet roughed up the dirt with their hard calluses. When I harvested arugula, it smelled of green spice—alchemical veins pulsing sun and dirt and water. I do remember this. I pinned summer light up in my hair and made no apologies for the space I took up—barely clothed and sun-bound.

Now, a ball of twine in the grey sky. The sun rolls low on the horizon. Hangs. Then dips back down again, wind howling us into night.

Inside the erratic rhythm of this wavering flame, I conjure the potent sky of the longest day. Seeds with a whole galaxy inside them. Cicadas vibrating in the alders.

But the sensation of joy slips too quickly into simulacra. Song on repeat. I never meant to find myself in such a cold place, my hair thinning against winter.

Once, red clover grew thick where today’s rabbit tracks pattern the snow. Clover said flow, clover said nourish, clover said we’ve got this.

I reel the memory out, let it linger on the horizon, then reel it back in. I play it out and reel it back in. Some kind of fishing, some kind of flying—again and again. I loosen the buckles of my mind. I take up space in the precision of my breath. I call us all back in.

Tankas for what Comes Together

At the seashore, wind
almost lifts our spindrift bodies,
sand scrapes our skin.
Let that sleek seal beat back the waves—
thunder amasses in cloud.

I do not believe in the failure of caring
for each other. How
can I when the cascading waves
gather us all in the rise?

Related Poems

Virginia Street

February on another coast is April
here. Astrology is months:
you are February, or are you
June, and who is
December? Who is books
read in spring, wingspan
between midnight
and mourning

Another starry tree, coastal
counterpoint where magnolia is
a brighter season
peach and pear
are grafted onto the same tree
fear and fat stick
to the same sprained bone
For this adolescent reprise
recycle everything trivial
but this time bring
the eye into sight:
make sight superior
to what is seen

A decade is to look at June
and see April
to look at April
and see February
Relief of repetition
seasons mean again,
one flowering branch suspended
in the half-light of spring
We sat on steps
beneath a tree
No: I walked by
The tree bloomed
and I looked up

Scripts for the Future

chatter around town will be of blindness  

all ghosts will be Russian ghosts at parties 


				                           always the law here is to sing, 
                                                                believe me 

				                           no thought-bubble tarries 
                                                                above your head   

				                           for all the brethren to read, 
                                                                they’re streaming  


a film on the history of the sun 

since eyes evolved to see underwater 


				                           do you prefer photos of 
                                                                landscapes or  

				                           photos of people, you choose 
                                                                the figure  

				                           for god among the lavish 
                                                                descriptions  

				                           of polar deserts, information 
                                                                clouds 


known as the neobeautiful, watching  

four-minute videos on how to draw 

blood samples with a butterfly needle 


				                           you will all have gone ancestral 
                                                                by then 


say unto them that you were changed into  

a heliotropic plant then back to  

a woman then a plant again, unlucky  

women carry too much yellow bile  

what paleozoic sunlight was like  


				                           acknowledge soul begins in the 
                                                                liver  

				                           take the vexing thought to the 
                                                                anagram 

				                           machine: net worth 
                                                                metamorphoses into  

				                           a wet thorn, tell me what my 
                                                                “about” shall be  


there’s a cherry tree at the center of  

puberty, a chlorine hand wash before entering  

love’s written all over your face, my love  

what incredible footage has emerged 

Babejianjisemigad/Gradual Transformation

Chigaming gii jiisibidoon mikwambikwadinaa
The great sea was pinched by the glaciers

neyaashiiwan, neyaakobiiwanan, neyaakwaa
land reaching, water pointing, trees leaning

biindig zaaga’iganing, agwajiing akiing
inside the lake, outside the land.

Omaa zhawenjigejig zhaweniminangwa
It is here we are loved

epiichi agwaayaashkaa mii dash animaashkaa
by the slow swell of tides

gaye baswewe zisibimaadiziyang.
that echo the rasp of our lives.

Maampii gidanishinaabemotawigoonaanig
This place speaks to us

ginwenzh biboon, nitaawigin niibin
of long winters, summer growth

babejianjisemigad apane.
and slow constant change.