Evening, By The Lake
The sky poured down
onto the water,
from shore to shore -
the glinting of stars
the drape of clouds -
rippled by waves
and the night-cooled wind.
A thousand birds
floated on the sky
wings tucked tight
in feathery pockets
dreaming dreams of migration
of a world made of water
and glinting star
and endless sky.
Open the doors
throw wide the windows
and let in the wind.
goodbye tables and chairs
goodbye paintings and dishes and walls and shelves
goodbye books abandoned and books twice read
and books scrawled in the margins
goodbye tablecloths and curtains
and closets and coats
goodbye cupboards and pantries and floorboards
and plumbing and plaster and beams.
A house made of wind
a roof made of sky
a mind clean as paper.
Even The Dead Are Breathing
Ghosts crowd my open mouth -
a damp visitation breathing in
a cold mist breathing out -
before skittering away
The fox behind my house
settles deep in the grass
his long tail draped cunningly to one side.
Red, green, red, green, whispers my heart.
My fingers freeze above the keyboard on my lap
No. They are frozen. They are crumbling to bits.
The fox winks its black eye.
“If you were as beautiful as me,” he says,
his white teeth flashing like pearls,
“your stories would never falter.
They would move mountains,
They would be as implacable as gods.”
“I do not doubt it,” I say through my shortage of verbs,
through my paralysis of action.
The screen flickers, and dies.
The fox rests its face upon its small feet,
its face tipped upwards. It grins its foxy grin.
“Close your eyes,” it says.
And I do.
“Arch your shoulders.”
“Sway your back.”
“Dig your paws into the ground.”
And in my mind, I move as a fox moves
and breath as a fox breathes
and leap as a fox leaps.
“You understand now, don’t you?” it says.
“I do,” I say. And the story begins itself-
and it is wild, wily; a thing alive.
As I mentioned before, I’ve decided to write a poem a day. Sometimes I will post them on the blog. Unless they are egregiously terrible. This one, to be sure, is terrible. But not egregiously so, and I will therefore post it.
I think a lot of writers have ghosts in their basements. I think the ghosts are drawn to us. I have one. She is obsessed with laundry. Here is her poem.
The ghost in the basement
taps her brittle fingers against the dryer.
“I’ve separated the whites and the darks,” I say.
“I’ve pre-treated,” I say.
She sniffs the air and wrinkles her nose.
She taps the dryer as I gather clothes,
heavy and damp in my arms,
and ripe with the stink of living.
She taps as I add the soap,
turn on the water,
and wash the life away.
Her fingernails are bitten to the quick;
her skin is old paper;
her mouth a bright, hot coal.