Absence

These days I carve holes
into the palms of my hands
with the thin pale tooth
of my silence.
Beside the window
I touch my hands to the glass:
the pale light dances
across my breasts,
stars.

A New Scene

I will go first, dear.
Consider the cinema
of another kiss:

the protagonist
aims to capture in one take
the longing with which

a letterbox heart
constrained by words, not pictures,
can barely contain.

These

days we think: not rain
again. We do

it brightly: screw
in the lightbulbs of
ourselves.

The itch we scratch

a filament.

Confessional

Forgive me, father, for I have sinned.

I wanted to have the baby. I wanted to feed it
lye from my breasts. I wanted to raise it
Catholic, swaddled, blank.
Left beneath the oak tree, never
minded. Like a mother I baked
the bread: round, full.
Glutted myself on the taste
transubstantiated whole.

I drew the ellipse around your name.
This one, only.
A promise.

Then the dark was too clear
and too perfect
and I saw it as it was,
another chain to

break.

Boundaries

There must be a finite limit to our love,
he said. But I could not draw it on a napkin,
doodled in the margins of crumbs and stains,
nor could he join the points of the graph,
which we’d once thought carefully plotted.
If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch,
you must first invent the universe
he had quoted,
standing astride the genesis of our cosmos,
our Big Bang: the yellow bedsheets, the atoms
of oxygen swirling through arteries and hearts.

Now he sees boundaries where had been promise:
A universe expands only so far before collapsing.
We are not scientists, mathematicians of love
who have committed the natural laws to memory;
we’re theorists who have yet to scratch
the correct formula across the paper towels
and x-axes of our lives,

the limits still unknown, untested, unproven.

Thoughts

Darling,

I wonder if, like mine,
your bones are quartz

covering a heliotrope
heart, unpolished.

What fills and breaks
you? Does the light pass

slowly through your skin
or not at all?

There are things inside
me which you do not know

and I’ll never tell,
but you’ll see through

to the other side
while I tease you

out.

Decoration

Your hands are sticks
bound to your arms with twine

we bought from the Home Depot.

I am a bed lofted high,
touching the exposed beams.

We want to see the beautiful things
in magazine photographs:

a sky is the color of paint chips,

a moon is a plate we found
on sale, half-off.

Peace

God and I have made our peace.
He stays on his side of the bed,
me on mine, doesn’t comment when

I steal the sheets again.
He is a gentleman. I am not

gentle, nor a man. Instead
I love like an American:
selfish and right.

To My 16-Year-Old Self

They tell you you’re not in love, but you are.
Isn’t it terrible? To love so selfishly, so
completely, is the opposite of love, they say.
But you know the truth.
It is all there is.

You think you know death, but you don’t.
You’ve read all the books, studied your Plath
and Goethe and the Brontës that matter,
but not from beneath the heavy blanket of sorrow.
You believe you won’t live to see 30
but that your father will live forever,
his Superman heart racing on.
But it will stop. You still
grieve for lost moments
without knowing why.

You are not unhappy, not yet.
That will come in time. Breathe
now, while you are invincible.
While there is nothing
to expect.

Navigation

Like a sailor I will chart a course
across your brow, its fine lines, creases
I have loved before I knew how to find
you, how to look to the stars and see
where I belong: between Orion and Cassiopeia,
the space where neck meets jaw
and constellations beget lights
immeasurable, immense.