You map my cheeks in gelatinous dark, your torso floating, a forgotten moon, and a violin crosses the sheets while you kiss me your mouth of castanets. I believed once my uncles lived in trees, from the encyclopedia I’d carried to my father, The Philippines, the Ilongot hunting from a branch, my father’s chin in shadows. I try to tell you about distance, though my body unstitches, fruit of your shoulder lit by the patio lamp, grass of you sticky with dew, and all our unlit places folding, one into another. By dead night: my face in the pillow, your knuckles in my hair, my father whipping my back. How to lift pain from desire, the word safety from safe, me, and the wind chatters down gutters, rumoring rain. I graze your stubble, lose my edges mouthing your name. To love what we can no longer distinguish, we paddle the other’s darkness, whisper the bed, cry the dying violet hour; you twist your hands of hard birches, and we peel into our shadows, the losing of our names.
Mudslide in Rio de Janeiro state...: in the early hours of Saturday, following two days of heavy downpour. A boulder slid down a slope and hit a group of houses in the city of Niterói. Volunteers joined rescuers in silence so that any survivors could be heard.
—BBC News, November 11, 2018
It's as if the marrow of the earth mistook us
for part of itself, our limbs its own settling
form, like we have sunk into chairs and taken as us
our tight-tucked legs, our bellies. Or known the settling
head of our daughter to sternum as an uncleaved us,
one sleeping self inside a woken self. The settling
mud around, its heave, seems simple now: is softening us
into dense dark shape, and we are settling
our gauges too: voice from volume, sediment, shadow, us
from the spaces we lived. Silence settling
who we thought we were, was us,
into this all-consuming lack. Nothing settling
a choke around the circumference of light, drawing us
in. We no longer know if our eyes are open, only settling:
(where our daughter sank her pillow—her hair—and us
somewhere too), though we're yielding there to this, settling
aphotic loss, how we once lived what we could bear: us,
her, no more. Now there is weight so true, a settling
so whole, we could die in its lightness: it exiles us
to formless terror—no blanket, no bed, but settling.
If we could remember that once a throat was us
inside a body. Only: here, or here, inside this settling,
a hint of shade, almost like memory: the sound of us.
If we could just know again our mouths. We
could part the earth with our voices, ask to be heard.