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.
1 Muddled stillness All summer Sun 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 2 The glare sears seeing Something moves out of the corner Often it is more nothing Tumbling 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 3 River That bare aspiring edge That killing arrow Feathered from its Own wing Then the third River forms When pain’s lit Taper Drips Soft lip Of my vision Effacing, radiates A late, silty light My life Slowly bottoming Into thought