The Only Weight Keeping Us Here
We sit on Simone’s velvet couch, her words
we don’t talk about that, a rebuke.
I had asked about the war,
how it was for her, for the French.
Bringing up the war, even sixty years later,
has made Simone sad. Her oldest child
moved to Long Island, opened a restaurant,
had a son. Her daughter in Paris,
has a son. Imagine two grandsons,
two countries, on opposite sides of a war.
I’m eighteen & have never seen
what she’s seen—bombed & mutilated
bodies. I’m terrified of speaking
another wrong thing & Simone remains
quiet. I learn how we need each other, silent,
sitting on a couch, looking out the window—
a stand of pink roses, a spray of trees &
rusted garden chairs, a tableau of anchors.
At the park with ribbons of green lawn
stretching from Pico to Cloverfield,
I stand by a tree watching
two people on a bench nearby.
I’ve loaded my canvas tote
with bok choy & avocados
& dried olives cured with lemon
from the farmer’s market.
I don’t mean to eavesdrop,
but when the whiteness of the cumulous
clouds against the deep blue sky
takes my breath away,
I have to set my heavy pack down.
The woman holds her head in her hands,
talks about her ex, his threats, her kid, and how
her life is too god damned much.
The man with his red beard & beat up
backpack on the ground at his feet
listens, his body thick, like an anchor.
Mother appears to be sleeping, such peace.
I want her to get up, Come on Edy, let’s go.
Everything in this funeral home is cream,
cream walls, cream lights, cream carpet,
cream tissues. I touch her fingers—the coldness
scares me & I pull back though feel compelled
to lie beside her dead body. I don’t, instead I stare
at the ceiling where she’s lifted her spirit.
When I feel her hand on my shoulder,
I want to rise with her, but my legs
turn to stone, like anchors.
Sunset in the California Desert, or the Intimacies of Mountains
Lush & silently
verdant, palm trunks
& spikes of green
over oasis grass
surround me. Beyond
where the kestrels fly,
the mountains emerge—
shifting shades of gray &
purple. The imagined edges
of my hips & arms
release their lines.
I am no body.
I am everywhere.
I float with ecstatic stars,
am the ruined light of eternity.
There are already cisterns of gratitude
for such loveliness.
O symmetry, O holy breath
fill my bones’ marrow,
this depth of longing.
Tears release, but who has not stood
at the edge of beauty &
launched a taproot seeking
rain? I have learned
to locate love inside of myself,
& still I am sky.
The dusk rays of sun throw ochre
dust across sand.
Find me here, O loved one,
that is my prayer.
We Want To Be Fierce
All the good girls go to hell… Billie Eilish
we want fingernails sharp as daggers
an inferno blazing from our lips—
we want to ignite the broken place within
we’ll walk alone at night
on ruby-ribbed stilettos
throwing light / spitting stars
we will stand where we stand
we will cry where we cry
we will remember to dip our fangs
into the soft meat of evil
until we’ve had our fill