How to Prepare the Mind for Lightning

In the recesses of the woman’s mind
           there is a warehouse. The warehouse
                      is covered with wisteria. The wisteria wonders

what it is doing in the mind of the woman.
           The woman wonders too.
                     The river is raw tonight. The river is a calling

aching with want. The woman walks towards it
           her arms unimpaired and coated
                     with moonlight. The wisteria wants the river.

It also wants the warehouse in the mind
           of the woman, wants to remain in the ruins
                     though water is another kind of original ruin

determined in its structure and unpredictable.
           The woman unlaces the light across her body.
                     She wades through the river while the twining
                              wisteria

bleeds from her mouth, her eyes, her wrist-veins,
           her heart valve, her heart. The garden again
                     overgrows the body—called by the water

and carried by the woman to the wanting river.
           When she bleeds the wisteria, the warehouse
                     in her mind is free and empty and the source

of all emptiness. It is free to house the night sky.
           It is free like the woman to hold nothing
                     but the boundless, empty, unimaginable dark.
 

More by Brynn Saito

Like Any Good American

I bathe my television    in total attention    I give it my corneas
I give it my eardrums    I give it my longing
In return I get pictures      of girls fighting    and men flying
and women in big houses    with tight faces    blotting down tears
with tiny knuckles    Sometimes my mother calls
and I don't answer      Sometimes a siren     sings past the window
and summer air     pushes in     dripping with the scent
of human sweat       But what do I care      I've given my skin
to the TV     I've given it my tastes     In return    it gives me so many
different sounds     to fill the silence   where the secrets
of my life     flash by like ad space     for the coming season

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This Was Once a Love Poem

This was once a love poem,
before its haunches thickened, its breath grew short,
before it found itself sitting,
perplexed and a little embarrassed,
on the fender of a parked car,
while many people passed by without turning their heads.

It remembers itself dressing as if for a great engagement.
It remembers choosing these shoes,
this scarf or tie.

Once, it drank beer for breakfast,
drifted its feet
in a river side by side with the feet of another.

Once it pretended shyness, then grew truly shy,
dropping its head so the hair would fall forward,
so the eyes would not be seen.

IT spoke with passion of history, of art.
It was lovely then, this poem.
Under its chin, no fold of skin softened.
Behind the knees, no pad of yellow fat.
What it knew in the morning it still believed at nightfall.
An unconjured confidence lifted its eyebrows, its cheeks.

The longing has not diminished.
Still it understands. It is time to consider a cat,
the cultivation of African violets or flowering cactus.

Yes, it decides:
Many miniature cacti, in blue and red painted pots. 
When it finds itself disquieted 
by the pure and unfamiliar silence of its new life,
it will touch them—one, then another—
with a single finger outstretched like a tiny flame.