God forbade the eighth day.
He tried it out for a while:
let the sun set in His hand,
wrote love letters to the stars,
played golf. God stuff.
But it didn’t sit right.
He couldn’t put his finger on it.
The Eighth Day clouds wore
sheeted shapes of color,
red and white like a circus tent.
The Eighth Day animals slept
in sweatless fits – choking
on sugary pits of mango.
The Eighth Day humans
sprouted superfluous limbs
and climbed high in trees,
swam low in cane, covered
in blood and resin.
The Eighth Day flora whispered
spores of secrets to the honeybee.
She, the worker, touches flowers
but doesn’t ask why. They call
to her—keep calling to her,
ringing out like pin-ball lily pads.
She busses nectar back
to the hive. Swarming, sated,
filing into honeycomb hexes
—Eighth Day cartography.
Exacerbated waves, boiling
oceans of gold. Creature’s tongues
lapped out, stuck. Eyes lolled
back—Lotus Eaters, we all.
And God thought what the hell,
seven is a nice, round number.
Last night everything froze.
Yesterday, it rained and rained.
All the water pooled together
and when the Sun went down,
Earth remembered its seasons.
And everything froze.
I tried driving home
’neath the dark, starless abyss—
I wondered if the blackness had frozen
too, and if the Sun would melt
the sky when it rose again
if it rose again
—but I lost it in the ice
somewhere by the airport.
I could tell because of the glow
on the low, static clouds.
Similarly frozen. A plane
just a few hundred feet
above the icy highway,
untouching the Tarmac.
People in the windows were waving
frantically; some jumped.
And like me, none of them
were going to make it
to their destination. I thought
maybe it’s better this way.
No more dreams or promises—
snuggling in cold covers at night
waiting for warm morning.
they make clocks now that don’t tick
too fast—don’t even have hands.
they slow you down, and drag your feet
by the heels, where Thetis held Achilles.
and they slash through your dreams,
boiling up from a barren pit—the one
deeper than the back of your mind,
behind all the back burners, black
now with pitch and smoking remnants.
i was still going to eat them
but you had none of it. standing
in the white, gravel driveway facing
me and not me with your hands
cocked at your hips
in those acid-washed shorts.
i could have eaten you, then,
but you spoke words in me with your body
and left no thought unpunctuated.
i sensed disappointment in your joints
as you pressed into me, warm
and cold simultaneously.
“there’s no sense in arguing,”
i heard your vertebrae say.
and there wasn’t.
still, in the void between clock ticks—
that old metronome can’t keep me in time—
you were you and not you, and
every powdery face i ever counted
with closed, flickering eyes.
you pressed and my blood grew sentience
because i felt each cell’s thought
like a hivequeen.
and me with you, all my noisy blood
and all your pressing body, unrelenting,
i swept us out of dreamspace
into an ocean of light,
no hydrogen, no oxygen,
—waves lapped and foamed
on sandstone beaches where
that ticking clock is irrelevant
and i can call my own thoughts back,
like reeling in a fishless, baitless hook.
and you say, still pressing me:
“there’s no sense in arguing.”
It’s as simple as the slip of the lips.
Some say tongue, but I’ve seen
wrapped in plastic.
Supermarket cold-cuts, sweating
they tell tall tales at night, when
the pale tile floors are no longer
lighted—the bologna to the ham.
I know they’re made up.
That’s where I heard this one:
a daughter and mother hurry
two little steps fitting comfortably
inside mother’s stride. Her sneakers
blinked on fire, flashing red
at the heels, like an emergency.
And by the slip of the lips, mind
mother calls out to the girl,
who is falling behind and unable
to keep up…
“Hurry up, Claire.”
But Claire isn’t right. No, now
the steel-clattered cart, full of
bread, eggs, all things white—
is not her name.
From my post
by the produce, I can’t tell if
the mother knows her sin, or if
the daughter’s chest splinters…
My tongue feels heavy; it needs
to be swallowed or caressed, told
everything’s alright because
a name is the first thing
we are given, and the
only thing we have.
ink not dry—
dried and chapped nails,
tips of fingerprints.
and a gentle,
pressure onto paper.
forgetting the word
Corn-covered plains spread low
Fifteen miles of hard rain, then
I trusted your fingertips
drawing lines over paper-hallowed
roads, that showed bends
but not turns.
I found silver lining for the first time
where you grasped the horizon
and pulled it toward you—
a suitcase handle.
Black and new.
Where you’ve decided
to end up
ends up as laser ink
black on white
on a printout ticket:
which man painted them
on the wall of the cave
that keeps feet pressed to the ground?
Reflections of light in a dew-laden sky
mourning and waiting
for an even greater sunrise.
I drove you in the sun-stuck heated
front seat of my ’95 sedan
and kept each memory of that place
in a rusted, put-together file cabinet
where they still make and sell and
deep fry Mars bars.
I keep the key on a pewter ring
in a different drawer—dusted-over,
unopened since the Sun was taught
to dawn. From there, I saw a man
crawling bearded through the gutter
painted as a monster from grime,
leftovers and throw-aways.
He clung with estranged,
probing digits thick around
a brown-bagged bottle.
I witnessed true fear that day.
I share it now, with you,
wind-sung hair blown back.
Reaching out to you,
with not only a hand
but with a plan to rest it
on your thigh.
Vermisse den Mittleren Westen.
“Through Closed Blinds I Counted Lightning”
Your hair became mine
then the wall’s… and the floor’s.
Your outline broke-back twisted,
contorted in a pale bed-color mist.
Bodies dreamed around us—
the haunting patter-purr of cat feet
beneath and behind door frames.
Outside it’s raining for the first time since I can remember
and God Almighty is that thunder’s timing perfect
A digital tinge gropes you in backlight from the infomercial
television going on and on about…
Each inch of me is each inch of you and I’m sure I’m dreaming.
I even ask you and you say with open eyes at mine,
“I don’t think so.”
Well, I don’t think so either anymore.
Words pass between us like blood between organs:
we are vital, throbbing, and ready.
IND -> ERW, 8:32am EST