Tagged: the Dead

Thirty

I was standing in line with you
when I passed out, fainted
I guess, and woke up
on the floor

I remember feeling
guilty, like I had overslept
and how different
you looked

appearing over me, like
a mother, or a god
both perfect
and impatient

my elbow hurts – I realize
I must have fallen on it
you say I may have fallen forward
if it hadn’t been for you

how lucky – I am grateful
– I am weak – I am
let down gently – I am
long to see

the security footage
in which your calmness
plays out like a silent film
in which

the faces of the embarassed
become everyone, black
and white, at each moment
assigned a time

SWAT

woke up drenched again, not
dreams, not raining, who knows
– there’s a resiny
imprint of me
on my mattress –

I go through what I ate
when, the withdrawal symptoms
of things like caffeine
pot, what I’m wearing
sleep positions, if
I should shower before

maybe my matress is a valley
my blankets roads
I overheat, sweat
become cold, pull them up

to wake unsure
where the water came from
if it’s water at all, or just salt
if while sleeping, I’ve
been swimming, and
barely made it back to shore

Coleoptera

      Entomologists estimate there are nearly
1.5 million different types of beetles
if you double the weight of all beetles
the world would cave in on itself
I love this nature fact – partly because
it sounds so made up, and partly
because I believe it must be true

      Cleopatra wore lipstick made
of crushed ants and beetles
David crushed Goliath with a stone
Since then, the weight of humans
has doubled many times over
we are gathered around a large hole
each awaiting our turn to see

      My parents have just called a meeting
to say just cremate me, no need for all
the fuss, unless it feels important to you
that you have a place to visit
Do we get a hole to see down? 
a box in vain denying the earth
thousands of beetles crowded around
the stags, the rhinocerii, the oxen
Now that would be interesting! No
mom says, and please,
just pour us out anywhere

Apnea

the trees, their leaves dipped like eggs
into cups of dye, the one flaming oak
on Flaming Oak Cove that has not changed
noticeably, but tonight appears more
red than yellow, an act of collective
memory I contain only part of. I contain only
part of what it takes. I take things out of
the forest and lay them flat onto paper, like
these trees, too much on purpose. I
build my web between birds and train
them to fly in unison above tall grasses,
ponds, collecting bugs. but only in poems
only on weak bones perched in your mind
someone saves me each morning. is that you?
or do I save myself? have I somehow timed
the jump back on correctly, all these times
in a row now… how have I not stayed too long?
this is where I have lived for most of my life

Senility Lane

the blanket says I brought it on myself
but doesn’t remember why
she might’ve meant how much I’ve grown
or the tree I told her has fallen in the yard
I hope she doesn’t think a tree
has fallen on me in the yard
or that I might have already called her
she might have already told me
the things I’m supposed to know
like how to get out from under a tree
how to clean a fish over the phone
my parents could’ve looked it up themselves
or probably done it for me
but they made me call my grandmother
who walked me through a process
I’d have to call her again to do
that little perch, its bones
like splinters in its own flesh
newspaper torn, black blood and
sunlight shifting in the winded
tree, garage glinting
it had the look of still writhing
or still writing, which is
the back and forth of fear for me:
a dead thing still moving
an alive thing that doesn’t

Quick Quick

those of us safe
are loosely staked
in soft ground

feet shifting, we
sink a little, and though
we are not smaller

we seem smaller
to ourselves. so,
in our desperation

in our hatred
of not being heard
or helping

we try new ways
of saying what has
already been said

perfectly, by ourselves
even, when we
had said nothing

Grief Later

What’s the turn around? Will this
be like when I was 4 and didn’t cry
at Nana’s funeral, because
she smelled funny, because
she brushed my hair too hard
in a hammock once? I was 4.
I remember things as if through
that hammock, my face pressed
into ropes like the design of a face.
I can’t remember what I’ve lied
about, or what is a story. Was it even
me who saved the chicken heads
because their beaks still moved?
Where would I have put them? If I went
back to the house on Rogge Lane, to
the adjoining back yards, would there
be a knot hole, a cinder block shelf
rowed with chicken heads?
Are they still in my pocket? Or
are we completely mistaken by grief?
Kidnapped. I wonder –
can it be considered a good life
if when you die, even for a second,
someone thinks you haven’t?