Poetry | March 01, 2008

Featuring the poems:

  • Confessions of a Tactile Kleptomaniac
  • A Way Back to Life
  • A Traveler is Met By Shapes of the World
  • Interregnum [featured as Poem of the Week, July 29, 2008]

 

Interregnum

I was born wizened.  Rasp of first breath,

I took the tinders of my parents’ gazes and flinted

a honeyed flame.  Before knowledge of cake or wood,

 

before even I was plated with a name, there were

cracklings and pleasings, wetly offered smiles and gasp :

I was old.

 

I took my place and a heat

leapt up, not mine,

but I tended it.

 

Drinklings, we are born to this necessity.  To help.  Helpless,

we snort the atmosphere, lunge toward milk, love.  Eyes clouded,

lungs dewy with night, we emerge from the close cabin rocking

 

to a day already underway.  Once I was emperor

of a body not my own, yet I craved the broken levee.

Haven, if it is haven, gives.

 

The swimmer passes

her piped body toward

the sting of light.

 

Ever after, the tear ducts remember.  There was a beach

belonged to my mother’s and my father’s Sundays.  We walked there.

Sometimes I was between them, holding both their young hands.

 

Then she turned old and he was infirm,

rotting from within.  I was the shunt of wreckage,

yellow-blue flame, versicoloured

 

mermaid of the rocks,

fitted

for the abyss.

 

One by one, I took from my fingertips the limpet shells

I had worn like small roofs over touch.  I stacked them, so many

tunics on the beach.  My cinder cones.

 

Plum-hot the anvil, lava, the volcano’s rise, ours

is a sky of yellow crumb and ash.  Amorphous, still I am consuming,

yea and nay, and consumed,

 

but shaken loose: empress

of undertone, perilous foam,

creek in its natal dark.

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