Hotel Berlin

In the rooms of a rundown palace
You said, Ruined. You said, Princess.

You said nothing to me
For three long weeks.

The color of that room
Is eel-black.

When I was a girl and still
German, I stood alone

At the end of the sea.
You may have loved me then

I sent a message through the cages
Of a great whale’s teeth.

For three weeks, I did not sleep.
I set jars of sweet milk and baskets

Of bright berries and red
Marmalade outside your door

In the dream
Where you come to me

I kiss your mouth
Tasting the secret

Letters of your history.
I swear

Somewhere in Siberia
A godly ocean of bison

Still roam free.
You, kneeling before me,

In this,
The last and final room.

More by Cynthia Cruz

Final Performance

I crawl along the wet floor
Of my mother's childhood,

A serpent, or a long-buried secret,
In my mother's bisque
Chiffon gown with small stars

Stitched in silver, a crown
Of tinsel pinned into the dark
Blonde knots and dreads of my hair.

I follow a sequin thread of dead
Things, stop when the moon clocks out,
Polish my long nails in the sun.

Guidebooks for the Dead

Mother’s crimson leather bags
Crammed with saint cards
And tiny glass bottles of liquor.

The bright stitch
Of God’s final coming.

Dirt and dregs, silt and stars.

The sweet song
Of poverty

Rinsing through me
Like the memory
Of a dream.

Riding

I am better when I am dead
or when I am
dreaming.

Having finally entered
the carboned pistons
of your machinery.

You, as a boy,
racing through
the warm excess
of night’s soft decline.

When I rise
I kerosene 
my fingers

place my hands flat
on its weeping
branches.

The music is smashed
Wurlitzer, trashed and drug
up from a landfill
in Tazewell.

Earth mixed with quell
and the bright peal
of a mangled glockenspiel.

In the winter hills
of summer, a sick
foal in the barn,

and an old farmhouse
with all its clocks
pulled out.

Its cold room
filling miraculously
with the slow sediment
of forget.