First Forty Days

Muddled stillness 
All summer
Punched the yellow jacket nest
Cavernous paper
Valved like a parched heart
Over and over
I let it
Beat outside
My body
No dark to cradle
The living part 
The glare sears seeing  
              	        Something moves out of the corner
                                          	                      Often it is more      	nothing  
From its silk sack.             	
This stillness
              	         Shifts. Streak  
Of tiny particulars
Pained in relation: the experience still
So still
It is invisible?
It will settle, I will tell you
Where the edges belong
That bare aspiring edge
That killing arrow
      	      Feathered from its
Own wing
Then the third
River forms
When pain’s lit
Soft lip
Of my vision
Effacing, radiates
A late, silty light
My life
Slowly bottoming
Into thought  

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My Nothings

You, who have bowed your head, shed
another season of antlers at my feet, for years

you fall asleep to the lullabies of dolls,
cotton-stuffed and frayed, ears damp with sleep

and saliva, scalps knotted with yarn, milk-breath,
and yawns. Birth is a torn ticket stub, a sugar

cone wrapped in a paper sleeve, the blackest
ice. It has been called irretrievable, a foreign

coin, the moon’s slip, showing, a pair
of new shoes rubbing raw your heel.

I lose the back of my earring and bend
the metal in such a way as to keep it

fastened to me. In the universe where we are
strangers, you kick with fury, impatient

as grass. I have eaten all your names.
In this garden you are blue ink, baseball cap

wishbone, pulled teeth, wet sand, hourglass.
There are locks of your hair in the robin’s nest

and clogging the shower drain. You, who are
covered in feathers, who have witnessed birth

give birth to death and watched death suck
her purple nipple. You long for a mother

like death’s mother, want to nurse until drunk
you dream of minnows swimming

through your ears—their iridescence causing
you to blink, your arms twitching.

Even while you sleep I feed you.