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Belonging

I want you to notice when I’m not around
the size and shape of the opening I leave behind
how the chickadees sing differently in my absence
syncopation, a slight change in rhythm

I’m bad at follow-up, like to leave threads untied
write harmonies that don’t resolve

Your grandfather had a tattoo of bluebirds on his chest
or was it his arm? I can’t recall now, can only remember
how you came to me teary and frayed, to tell me he’d died

What were we – sixteen, seventeen?
half broken and gooey with heartache
every song on the radio was about us

I’m outside looking at the naked trees
and I’m also in your parents’ Buick
at the bottom of Three Mile Hill

How can I be here and there?
It was summer when your grandfather died
and today it’s trying to be spring
I walk through the courtyard and see
half-blown buds reaching for air

I want to know how I can feel two seasons at once
but then I remember that it’s always been this way –
me noticing dichotomy in everything, the repeating
branching into two equal parts

Back to your grandfather – what killed him?
My memory tells me it had something to do with breathing
something in the chest where the blue birds might have been
(I’m bad at follow-up)
heart, lungs, a cage of ribs
what else is there?

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Inverted World

We suspend bodies from ceilings
let blood rush to throats

We count teeth and fingernails
in beveled edge mirrors

Open-mouthed, we sing to the dead
feather them to sleep in quarter time

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I’m two poems behind, but catching up…

Tags: napowrimo
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Lustrous

tungsten, fine grey powder
and heavy stones
stand in for gold

X-ray tubes
both filament and target
tunnel into spheres

cloisonné blues
make patterns
then take them away

Quote
"Writing stories is one of the most assertive things a person can do. Fiction is an act of willfulness, a deliberate effort to reconceive, to rearrange, to reconstitute nothing short of reality itself."

— From Notes from a Literary Apprenticeship, by Jhumpa Lahiri in The New Yorker (via thegist)