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Deva (A Sestina)
O your flushed cheeks, mouth like a desert blossom
opening slow, shy like midnight. White-hot stars
freckle in our eyes as answered prayers. We bend
like saplings ‘neath the honey-sweet weight
of God’s purple ecstasy. Let’s dance, dip & turn,
our bodies like rolling waves. Here, take my hand.
Rain-scented riddles dripping from your open hand.
If we drink them down will our eyes blossom
outward as little suns? Will our bellies turn
‘round on some hidden axis like fluorescent flesh-bound stars?
Who’s to say? All I know now is I love the weight
of your palm in mine as we dance, bow, bend,
again. Far off, a coyote’s ghost-light song. The sound bends
the strings of my heart to play in tune. Let us lift our hands
in thanks for the wild hymn of the world. A weight,
I feel it in my knees, weeping for its passing. The blossom
wilts & withers even as seeds unborn fly through night air; stars
fizzle, crack & burn out even as we turn and turn
as if our dance never ends. Twirl me like ribbon, turn
me like pages in a novel; how we collide, glide, bend
and cross—the shapes we make. A star
here, a spiral there. Our steps trace the lines of our hands.
Laughing, kissing, melting, weeping, we blossom
into one another, a living poem, spilling the weight
of world-weary angels, burgeoning weight
of dying butterflies and laboring mothers. Turn
around again. Listen closely for early spring blossoms
humming along with Coyote’s sad song; bend
‘round the melodies caressing our faces like the hand
of a lover. Lift your sibylline & fiery eyes to the stars.
O the desert-dusty dewdrops of sweat like little stars
on your brow. The old words you chant are weighted,
breathing, sacred life falling from your lips and hands.
They flutter into starlight as we dance, dip & turn
our weary bodies, ascending to heaven,
floating, swirling, and our lips unfurl their petals
as desert blossoms.
Star-speckled sky. We turn & bend, a rhapsody.
Weight of your hand warm on my heart—
O your flushed cheeks, mouth like a desert blossom.
Mama’s Got a Migraine
Mama is not a rhino
It’s just that sometimes the elephant wakes in her head
Stomping around, breaking china cabinets
Sending splintered shards about her brain
And our house is the size of a pen
Just one bathroom for the five of us
And my two sisters and I can’t play outside
because mama’s window faces the street
So, we hush what stirs within us
tiptoeing about, lights off, curtains closed, and TV near mute
but it’s the weekend and we can’t sit still
We stack things until a book falls from our fort
Mama’s feet hit the floor in full charge
Her bedroom door flies open
She reaches the bathroom, falling to her knees
and we watch her wretch into the toilet.
She lightly plods along her worn path back to bed
and my sisters and I finally unfasten
to become children again
temporary guilt flowing through us
We’ve caused this episode.
And we would cause the next.