[When I come home they rush to me, the flies]

When I come home they rush to me, the flies, & would take me, they would take me in their small arms if I were smaller, so fly this way, that way in joy, they welcome me. They kiss my face one two, they say, Come in, come in. Sit at this table. Sit. They hold one hand inside the other & say, Eat. They share the food, sit close to me, sit. As I chew they touch my hair, they touch their hands to my crumbs, joining me. The rim of my cup on which they perch. The milky lake above which. They ask for a story: How does it begin? Before, I was a child, & so on. My story goes on too long. I only want to look into their faces. The old one sits still, I sit with it, but the others busy themselves now with work & after the hour which maybe to them is a week, a month, I sleep in the room between the open window & the kitchen, dreaming though I were the Sierra, though I were their long lost sister, they understand that when I wake I will have to go. One helps me with my coat, another rides my shoulder to the train. Come with me, come, I say. No, no, it says, & waits with me there the rest whistling, touching my hair, though maybe these are its last seconds on earth in the light in the air is this love, though it is little, my errand, & for so little I left my house again.

Consider the Hands that Write This Letter

	          after Marina Wilson

Consider the hands
that write this letter.
The left palm pressed flat against the paper,
as it has done before, over my heart,
in peace or reverence
to the sea or some beautiful thing
I saw once, felt once: snow falling
like rice flung from the giants' wedding,
or the strangest birds. & consider, then,
the right hand, & how it is a fist,
within which a sharpened utensil,
similar to the way I've held a spade,
match to the wick, the horse's reins, 
loping, the very fists
I've seen from the roads to Limay & Estelí.
For years, I have come to sit this way:
one hand open, one hand closed,
like a farmer who puts down seeds & gathers up
the food that comes from that farming.
Or, yes, it is like the way I've danced
with my left hand opened around a shoulder
& my right hand closed inside
of another hand. & how
I pray, I pray for this
to be my way: sweet
work alluded to in the body's position
to its paper:
left hand, right hand
like an open eye, an eye closed:
one hand flat against the trapdoor,
the other hand knocking, knocking.

Kingdom Animalia

When I get the call about my brother,
I'm on a stopped train leaving town
& the news packs into me—freight—
though it's him on the other end
now, saying finefine—

Forfeit my eyes, I want to turn away
from the hair on the floor of his house
& how it got there Monday,
but my one heart falls
like a sad, fat persimmon
dropped by the hand of the Turczyn's old tree.

I want to sleep. I do not want to sleep. See,

one day, not today, not now, we will be gone
from this earth where we know the gladiolas.
My brother, this noise,
some love [you] I loved
with all my brain, & breath,
will be gone; I've been told, today, to consider this
as I ride the long tracks out & dream so good

I see a plant in the window of the house
my brother shares with his love, their shoes. & there
he is, asleep in bed
with this same woman whose long skin
covers all of her bones, in a city called Oakland,
& their dreams hang above them
a little like a chandelier, & their teeth
flash in the night, oh, body.

Oh, body, be held now by whom you love.
Whole years will be spent, underneath these impossible stars,
when dirt's the only animal who will sleep with you
& touch you with
its mouth.

luam, new york

The flies, six
in a metallic pile, identical
green, identical
bristle & gaud.

To see so clearly
the science
in their suits.

And yesterday, the woman
asking, Are you twins?

My sister & I, whose
mothers are different,
whose years are.

From a distance,
are we, species by species,
identical? Each other.
Our needs & moving. Dear Fly,

my Other Life out
splintering, involved
in the evolution:

we are like siblings,
you & I, separated
by many years, & rooms.

Related Poems

Killing Flies

I sit down for dinner
with my dead brother
again

This is the last dream I ever want to have

Passing the forks 
around the table, passing 
the knives

There's nothing to worry about

One thing I want to know is who's in the kitchen right now if it isn't me

It isn't me

The kitchen is full of flies, flies are doing all the work

They light on the edge
of the roasted chicken
The bone china

That's what they do

Light


*


I will look 
more and more like him
until I'm older
than he is

Then he'll look more like me

if I was 
lost

The flies need to be killed as soon as we're done eating this delicious meal they made

They serve us anything we want 
in toxic green tuxedos
and 

shit wings

My brother and I wipe our mouths
scrape our chairs back from the table
and stand up

These are the last things we'll do together:

Eat dinner

Kill flies


*

You have to lie down
next to the bodies, shining 
all in a row
like black sequins
stitching up 
the kitchen floor

It's hard to do but you have to do it

Quietly lay down 
and not sleep

We were killing them with butcher knives but moved on to spatulas to save time and energy

Sticking their eyes 
onto our earlobes and wrists
like Egyptian
jewelry

My brother and I work hard all night

He is my emergency exit

I am  
his

dinner date

The Dream of Knife, Fork, and Spoon

I can’t recall where to set the knife and spoon.
I can’t recall which side to place the napkin

or which bread plate belongs to me.  Or
how to engage in benign chatter.

I can’t recall when more than one fork—
which to use first.  Or what to make of this bowl of water.

I can’t see the place cards or recall any names.
The humiliation is impressive. The scorn.

No matter how much my brain “revises” the dinner

to see if the host was a family member—
I can't recall which dish ran away with which spoon.    

 

 

At a Dinner Party

With fruit and flowers the board is decked,
    The wine and laughter flow;
I'll not complain—could one expect
    So dull a world to know?

You look across the fruit and flowers,
    My glance your glances find.—
It is our secret, only ours,
    Since all the world is blind.