Ghazal IV

Haven’t taken it to the head for a minute on another
three day bender. Slept past sunrise. And then another. 

The bed has softened over the years, the stoop steps chipped.
Shanties clog memory: was it your most recent love, or another? 

Bangladesh is continually interrogated by floods, you tell me. 
Your reflection a mist; the mist a shadow; the shadow some other. 

Cracked clay riverbeds sound like a cross between square and
sawtooth waves. Always, we want the frequency to be another.

Late last night the house made a drawing of itself: bones, skin, 
and a hat. It preferred famine over feast. Liar. It consumed another. 

Dear Sound Wave, while sobriety arpeggiates, is reshaped by blurring
filters don’t think too much of any of us. This dissonance becomes another. 

Related Poems

Dear Maker,

and Molly McCully Brown

 

Under my body’s din,
             a hum that won’t quiet,
I still hear what you’ve hidden
             in all the waves of sound:
each bead of pain
             that buries its head
like a black-legged tick,
             intractable but mine
to nurse or lure with heat.
             Please, tell me
what it means that I’ve grown
             to love the steady sound
of so many kinds of caving in,
             buckling down, the way
a body gives itself away
             like a sullen bride or the runt
who couldn’t latch? I know I’m just
             a hairline crack the music
leaves behind. I love
             the music, though I can’t keep it.

Ghazal

The sky is a dry pitiless white. The wide rows stretch on into death.
Like famished birds, my hands strip each stalk of its stolen crop: our name.

History is a ship forever setting sail. On either shore: mountains of men,
Oceans of bone, an engine whose teeth shred all that is not our name.

Can you imagine what will sound from us, what we’ll rend and claim
When we find ourselves alone with all we’ve ever sought: our name?

Or perhaps what we seek lives outside of speech, like a tribe of goats
On a mountain above a lake, whose hooves nick away at rock. Our name

Is blown from tree to tree, scattered by the breeze. Who am I to say what,
In that marriage, is lost? For all I know, the grass has caught our name.

Having risen from moan to growl, growl to a hound’s low bray,
The voices catch. No priest, no sinner has yet been taught our name.

Will it thunder up, the call of time? Or lie quiet as bedrock beneath
Our feet? Our name our name our name our fraught, fraught name.

Ghazal

Does exile begin at birth? I lived beside a wide river
For so long I stopped hearing it.

As when a glass shatters during an argument,
And we are secretly thrilled. . . . We wanted it to break.

Always something missing now in the cry of one bird,
Its wings flared against the wood.

Still, everything that is singular has a name:
Stone, song, trembling, waist, & snow. I remember how

My old psychiatrist would pinch his nose between
A thumb & forefinger, look up at me & sigh.