Three Poems from This Alchemy:
for the children
the mother is speaking to her infant bending over her delicate body the mother is speaking bending close whispering among the sirens the tumults the cranes the mother who is bending so close for her child to hear two tiny ears two luminescent shells the mother is whispering into them so close her breath tickling the faint hairs of her infant’s head the mother who is speaking in chinese portuguese is speaking afrikaans is speaking celtic the mother sounding the words in slovak german french the mother faintly uttering to her baby between the rails the commuter terminals is speaking japanese vietnamese between the switch hotels between the aluminum the chrome the steel between the silicon chip and the sound bite she is speaking softly into the delicate ears of her beloved’s head in arabic in patois in hindustani polish italian spanish speaking murmuring whispering holding her child high now raising her child with strong arms amidst the refineries and fists of anguish the furious skies the torturer’s exacting knife the mother a delicate intrusion of power amidst mendacity greed and terror sounding the clicks of the african tongue bringing the infant back murmuring ferociously in english russian swedish dutch hebrew greek each mother insisting: you are you are and except for you what is holy is gone but because of you may be returning the mother is saying amidst the exhaust and exhaustion the corruptible coin and the frenzy the mother nevertheless a whisper a fragrance a shining articulation pouring into the waters of her infant’s head: remember what I am saying remember what I am claiming: nothing can ever deny you nothing can ever destroy you:
you are you are you are
On the shoulder of a rain-filled day, a man slips off a curb and goes down.
Down into the eyes of a passerby, down into the humiliation of childhood;
then stumbles up, and eyes averted, hurriedly walks toward his car.
Later in the bath, he will feel hot water seep into his middle-age body,
flinch at this or that resistant bone, recall he was never supple, never
athletic enough, his body a novel of desire hardly read, and thinking so
he’ll lean his head against the bathroom tile, be surprised how exquisitely
the bruises grow into yellow and blue flowers—one on his left calf, two
on this thigh—and he’ll recall how long it has been he has been this tender
with himself. Not, perhaps, since rolling off her, that time before the last,
when smiling, satisfied, he had stroked his belly round the navel, felt
his own dark wiry hairs, and turning, inhaled their mingled scents,
to sense, as he does now, the ache slowly loosen from the bone;
so that he might sit in adoration of his very own body and sense--
as he does now--
regret, for all the times he had not fallen into all that was purposely his, watching…waiting…daring him to rise.
Always I Wake
Some scientists have suggested…that all left-handed
singletons may be survivors of a vanished twin pair.
—Lawrence Wright, The New Yorker
Always I wake in a wild wind, sensing you.
It is the middle of the night, before the time you left me,
before the great ooze of light drizzled through the darkness
of our mother’s womb. At that moment, my fin beckoned
to you, but something happened, and you diminished down
into the vast waters, while I rose up and was pushed out,
alone, into the terrible air.
Because you are lost to me, I nourish myself with my left hand, only.
I have broken all mirrors in search of you.
Lately, I imagine you rescuing me, your right hand pressed
to my waist, side-stroking me to shore —
you, who have my separated heart, my face.
I, who have yours.