Published by Taint
Scanning ( September 2004)
Technology and gel define your foetal curve:
a fist with an eye closed on its darkness
In weeks you have emerged,
show wrinkled profile and spine: ballerina, boxer
nun, rock climber?
The scanner flickers, toils on the screen,
cannot brush away the mist.
You take shelter against the wall
and kick at the swollen shackle,
the double heartbeat.
Time in the heart swings between
the dog’s hour, a blue sunset.
Your face, a half moon suture, sends blank
signals to the machine. You, unmade.
Your night climbs my spine.
He opens the window, beckons
the sky that touches the broken strings
of a guitar and the ruins
on his lips.
In fractured blue, he listens
to the wind, to the disorientation
of sounds pummeling ears.
And he calls to me—I bring
guideposts, a heron on my shoulder,
new strings for his guitar. I ask him
to blow a tune into the ice
that traps an earsplitting Spring.
( March 2004)
She came back home last night. We opened
the door, draped her in her room, switched off
the light. She slept with us, wall to wall,
beyond the sun
and the room’s stiffness.
She is no longer Mom; she is a dead woman
who will exit the house without shoes,
in silk stockings.
She leaves four daughters, a canary,
two hand-made carpets and a boat
moored at the door.
A Mother’s Care
Here you are, bloated girl
on a mortuary shelf.
They said I have to tend you; you’ve got
nobody. Else. I scour blued crevices of thighs
and breasts. I sponge your shoulders—
someone gave you a rough
gift: twisted wire as a necklace.
Your head weighs on my arm,
I comb back bleached tresses
of hair: I see it was once black and curly, girl.
I swathe your jaw shut; the front broken
teeth hidden by puckering lips.
I’m sorry I have to plug you,
sorry the nightdress is too small,
leaves your long legs nude
in a shroud of talc. Sorry I can’t
overstay. My daughter must be home by now.
The Misconstruction ( April 2004)
We’ve shaped statues
in limestone, lined them
along the bridge. At times, on rainy days,
we hide behind them—when cars pass
and splash dirt
On market days—when people cross
holding bags like machine guns,
we wear a statue from neck to feet,
hold our breath, stiffen, show the eyes’ white,
aware that any moment a fig leaf and stone
nipples might betray us.