Updated: Sep 13
won’t look the way it looks now.
Sunrays streak when afternoon hits.
As a child, I did not know this,
how Pond came to be sliced into bits.
But it’s early now, the sun still sleeps
and Pond waits for me unstreaked.
It waits down in the marshes,
the ones by Pa’s old house.
Pond was never blue, but almost
—once a delicate kind of green.
Today, as brown as the earth beside
it: those dark and crumbling banks.
When someone who was breathing one day
stops, why does Pond have to grieve it?
Leaves and litter cover the surface now,
though the wind soon blows them
into flight, and Pa’s water lilies all ruined,
with no-one around to dead-head—
I could try, but wouldn’t get it right.
I don’t know why I started crying, the sight of something so ordinary: two common clothes moths. But with me, breaking down, often it does not take much. (One Sunday, when I should have been reading The Passion, I was making a boy some eggs and cried. That an egg should leave me weeping. I had cracked it, and instead of deep, pure gold—a blackened trail.)
At first, the moths were not aware of one and other. I was not yet crying, but as soon as they moved together, my mouth was made of trembles. What inside of me was it—the thing that came undone? I don’t know but something did, like food coming away from a dinner plate, held for a while under a hot tap.
The moths’ love was a desperate smothering. I watched their need. Their act. Their wild pyretic clutching. Still crying, I edged even closer, as though proximity to wanting could somehow make me a thing that’s wanted. Then, they were done, that was it, they let go of each other. One stayed on the arm of the sofa, the other flew off. I mean it was hardly sex. I thought so, at first, but more like masturbating using each other’s bodies. I should never have cried in the first place, but sometimes I let things inside of me, little details. I don’t know how to let them back out.
Horses on the Hill
All day I’ve cut wood for the stove watched horses on the hill
brace against wind there is something about their legs I can make out
the muscles from a distance but if I walk closer they look fragile
All day I’ve made this place a sort of comfortable a sort of festive
garlands from the beams pretended your prognosis
does not intersect with Christmas I’ve salted ham, put on The Pogues
coughed over every sensitive line … an old man said to me…
All day I’ve done everything everyone told me to stood back
let you wash your own hair and soon you’ll be putting you to bed
then another day beneath the hill cutting wood watching wild horses
steady in the wind maybe one day change maybe a dog
rushes down splits the herd in two
Glass of Water
A dying man once wrote in a poem
that he was afraid of death because he wouldn’t
be able to drink water anymore.
I’ve forgotten who.
Tall, cool glass of water. I keep seeing that phrase around—
tall, cool glass of water.
I think it is spectacular wording. I think it makes me want
to be alive.
Paul Has a Conversation with a Ghost
The ghost has the anatomy of an old man but with breasts that are softer than mine, and rounder. Paul, who is virginal, who has never seen real breasts before, is pouring himself a glass of milk
while I stand in the corner, uncurious. He watches the ghost, waiting for it to speak but no words come, only movements. It signals with its wet face—lacquered eyebrows and dripping lips— a whole head slick with amniotic fluid. Its expressions are surprising yet timid. Ghosts are afraid like my mother. I tell Paul we should leave, but he says nothing. He has forgotten me. Obsessed, he moves towards the ghost and when he gets too close, they touch, causing it to concave into a sphere. Paul picks it up like a beachball, or maybe something with more flesh, like a baby. He rocks it back and forth, gesturing words in its spectral language. ‘Paul, speak!’ I cry. ‘Paul, please! Say something quickly, before you lose the name of your mother.’