We were the ladies of the half-world, bailé,
half bare in the front window. We outran the bull, moons
apart as night-owls, lambs, bloodletting; our names
over the transom, we who were always on-the-job
in a kind of place with electric lights & running water.
I got behind my little runaway grieved two whole years
with no reprieve sans the tub shaped body, back of horse,
cock fights, that very parading the boulevard however far-off
yellow the light that falls the mind. Seasons folded
in the very cumber of noon. Flimsy hoop & bodice, fleet
& ashen within the hollow mine of earth off-scouring all I knew
stay in one piece. The yellow ringing of Jezebel; right-as-you-are.
We knew it was wrong to need another woman’s man
looping inside, resounds even more days positioned
a lion’s hindquarters for prey. Here is where they lay their hands
upon all that rises a doe blossom down the back alley
kind that can hold Christmas morning, one stealth manger a child
blinking grazed the land, & what likelihood is a songbird. Lo &
behold we got friends on the other side, dulcés, goldfields.
Fathom this handheld inside a rice bed she willed me in her passing,
I believed love as would a lion lie down & tuck his breast.
Even now our resident baby girl is pregnant, her still a baby behind
the saddle, face out the kitchen window, hands on the butcher block,
our parlor thought word & deed laid down, mauled &
knowing seldom no-how brambles curve the curbstone.
I held inside me stay in & stay without sadness in your—-if he’s gone
then the part hid in is but flat feet up in a cotton field
I can’t say anymore, never wind nor rain, this stretching out
probably past the border we don’t go without our heads on.
By a watershed I don’t know how to otherwise. Car bottoms out, considered
leavetaking quietly then louder—-months I felt a small leaded bell heavy.
Rough trade. As land went fast tamale stands turquoise
plateau then the high pines into kombucha, driest summer fires
and split ends the half-burning down mountainsides
…………………………………………………so air-thick, so I lost it.
Said I’m tired of you talking in paragraphs. Linoleum mosaic ugly is about right who’s not.
To heart of bergamot, bateau in Ischia, she squints twenty-five winter
blossoms. Mare name she daughters,
just something short and blunt to lead. I would go home if I knew how to read a map.
What lately is yawns, gun-shy not really—-you flop down worn and scaredy, hard
surfacing across eyes when we say for ever how to really do that. Think snow-prints.
When you encounter one on the road say
choose or change: dare we hope oak-galls
I doubt, we are smiling people scarcely
an open strip tease. When you fell it was
body bird air, a slow roll the harvest moon. I pack
the car in my head daily, yes, you can get from
here a new day instead beauty; Niobrara we floated
millet out the side eye, it’s this life is not merely corn, or
pine forest, dream this die versus stay. I’d take
the whole west, that red curtain woke me visible,
& I do, these alarms women marry to moon, walk
backwards to bed, won’t come back again when kneeling.
Street health burnished to high shine, cut figure
eights in a hi-lo hem. Smudge residue hangs about the backlot
—-said banishment, get forest sans leaves, managed
case nurtured small. That’s the way we got on.
Mantilla, kohl and polar is every last six-page spread
as haven as colt legs loved you longer, the telltale
dust yards, woodbind and finally he a product
generational in uniform, wild honey for ailments.
Hey sandcherry choke rising, dunes
the beam of his back—-rank archer and you learn to sidle wary
but sweet. The whole country divvied by blocks or fields to face
perhaps tear-downs save the chimneys and seaboards:
a ditch, crouching girl lies in wait. All spent
junklot and aster-eyed the half-explanation.
Near worldly was that house fixed not so far off you could fire
to fathom that infernal shrill was mother’s tarrying,
baby girl herself two eves down her childhood home. Its memory leaves
a weight, turn it around in the light, a no-town.
Snow globes expose ice skaters in a pleasant city within.
When you get to thinking back those iron dark days of two steps
the streetline, tomcat at heel—-chicken place down 441
where the beginning was the word, it is but one spiral in you
waiting a street corner for your lover to turn, come home from somewhere
as in skip-hop down a row, literally in a dust storm,
plastic bags & tumbleweed & wind. This here ain’t no place
for mother’s borne baby girls flown the moon, two palms a hawk
I hope they’re happy. They said back then the old lady on the county line
had hoodoo, could talk colic out a baby just saying that baby’s name &
birth date: magnolia, no, that front yard dogwood
he planted her the year the family started up a Ford dealership &
he got to drinking, she pacing, moving towards something Chrysler
in scope, that magic of dirt, the pine rows that shaped our background.
Give it back yea or nay your last time there, split rail lined
out by the road at thirty-something odd.
Countrified means more than gingham as in sweep
—-rather purge the rail lines. I didn’t miss a thing. Such
a flattened fifth; road violence double paned
and coming for to carry me home. What you call daily
is batten down the midcentury chairs and smile pretty.
Without a hush I cast out open window—-grasslands the sea of, give
him the binomial names for goshawks a way we forage around each other in parts.
Banded neck banded hands a bouffant swirling into veil, held dear
to rafters, bad debts and smock. I come when
you call me, running highway numbers to the end of town,
starred quilt over heads and thought prey drive was a blasted mine, dust
patchy and in our throats to place a ring-shout.