for helios, not yet a collapsed star

and an even better
wolf, jawed to a thicket of lonely
lungs trees I mean breathing, comet
come to me, come
a lone light, like the fire
that rips the mountainside’s
dress, I was a good
ununderstood, a wrist
of bent light, undressing
alone an even quieter violence. I am
remembering how to want
my life, how to want to come
even closer to the wolf I was
you wanted this to be about borders

it is

Corpse Flower

Yesterday, the final petal curled its soft lure into bone.

The flowerhead shed clean, I gathered up your spine

and built you on a dark day. You are still missing

some parts. Each morning, I curl red psalms into the shells

in your chest. I have buried each slow light: cardinal’s yolk, live seawater,

my trenza, a piece of my son’s umbilical cord, and still you don’t return.

A failure fragrant as magic. Ascend the spirit into the design. 

My particular chiron: the record that your perfect feet ever graced

this earth. Homing signal adrift among stars, our tender impossible longing. 

What have I made of your sacrifice. This bone: it is myself.

Portrait of Atlantis as a Broken Home

              I swim down to 
              look for our four-
              chambered house.
                            The window
              in our room still leaf-
              darkened, its bruiselight
              charged with fault. 

Am I very lonely? 

             I age in reverse until I am as
             small as my child
             body, my chest swollen
             with bright longing

             that the walls will not always
             greet each other 
                           in collapse—

The lord is kind.

             The underworld is lit by half
                          -moon as if to say, none
                          of this is evidence,
                          only decay.

             In the drift, this wreck still looks like a life:
             everything still hanging is relieved
             of its weight like an archer’s arrow
                           suspended in rags 
                           of snow.
             I hunt the me
             that made this heavenless night,

             my young fear circling your
             false beacon, its low
             stars and difficult earth stacked
             immense against
             every fact—

I should be funnier here:

                            Underwater, iron sinks

                                                                            weightless as       

               a kite 

                                     plummeting 

                      through peaks.

Related Poems

If You’re Going to Look Like a Wolf They Have to Love You More Than They Fear You.

The first deer had large teeth and no horns and
were not afraid.

The first deer did not have enough fear
for the men who needed them
to survive.

A woman decided to let the men eat
a grandmother decided her deer shall have horns
and be afraid
someone’s mother decided the men shall eat
and shall be feared.

*

A man thought wolves should be used
to cull the herd.

And we who had been catching water
dripping through stone
in the homes we dug
out of the earth
we licked our long teeth clean
            and set to work.

 

 

Little Red Riding Hood/Companion

And those other females who managed to slip the collar
for a moment or two of life were branded “bad.”
            –Clarrisa Pinkola Estés, from Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype

The secret nests in my marrow.

At the striptease I appear pirouette
and prey.

Later,

I might show you
what it means to be consumed.

The pashadom and papacy come
to gush and forever satellite spatter,

no matter,

in the end you will find them
covered in a fine mist,

tasting of me.

What they do not know— beyond the veil

I lay with the wolf
& the wolf
is me.

Find me in a forest of tupelo,
cypress & black gum,
at midrib,
lobe, and blade.

Even a leaf can have teeth.

Human acts can be cannibalistic.

I am here
picking all of the wildflowers.

Her Kind

I have gone out, a possessed witch,
haunting the black air, braver at night;
dreaming evil, I have done my hitch
over the plain houses, light by light:
lonely thing, twelve-fingered, out of mind.
A woman like that is not a woman, quite.
I have been her kind.

I have found the warm caves in the woods,
filled them with skillets, carvings, shelves,
closets, silks, innumerable goods;
fixed the suppers for the worms and the elves:
whining, rearranging the disaligned.
A woman like that is misunderstood.
I have been her kind.

I have ridden in your cart, driver,
waved my nude arms at villages going by,
learning the last bright routes, survivor
where your flames still bite my thigh
and my ribs crack where your wheels wind.
A woman like that is not ashamed to die.
I have been her kind.