Like Saturn’s Children

you surrender to the hungry
lips that mark the throat
I have given you

it is your combat
to supplicate, mouthing
words I will not hear

this is your love,
the shadow that crosses my heart

its beating of wings

January returns only once

every year, she says. I don’t believe
her, those words like lines we cross

on our way to the library to pay our dues.
She is final. I believe her in the way

I believe in Santa Claus or Satan:
without my heart in it, always

expecting something more than what I’m told.

She folds paper cranes like that, too
quickly. An expert in excess: unnecessary.

I know she will let me wallow in myself
until she folds me into that shape,

the portions of us we have mapped.

Tastes

You are my secret
adjective, bound in black twine
knotted by my tongue.
Let this be the first
you know of it, so I may
taste that currant jam
as I wrap my lips
around the tang of your words
again and again.

Container

I keep the fireflies of my desire stopped up tight in a bottle, its milk glass fragile, opaque. Pour them onto your hands, straw man. Let them gather in your palms so I may blow them across the sky to burn your night.

Disjointed

It is a mountain, love.
Your breath caught
in my mouth: the wings of birds,
beating. The pressure
of your fingers on my wrist:
ambulation, poultice.
Needle in my spine, thin air.
The abrupt departure of flight:

a space to fold into.

A Longing

My aphid heart devours
what it sees in you. It hungers
for the yawn of trellis
over which your ivy creeps,
tired and green. May I
be the first to eat
your words, sucking
their bitter juices
into the small of my life.

Mathematics

The arithmetic
of a soul cannot be graphed
by numbers alone–

Look to poetry,
its dividing lines and form
a truer metric.

Absolution

I am a master of self-sacrifice,
wrapping each word in white cloth
to place on the collection plate
of my heart: the currency of need,
donated to the church of silence.
With each syllable I imagine a sin
dissolving into my chest, spreading
through the quiet tissue, calm,
the sentence already forgotten.

Two Haiku

You stand on the moors
of my heart, in deep shadow
and gray hillock.

Others ramble. But
you choose to remain solid,
stooping among peat.

Knowledge

Of course we know what it means
to break. We learned from our mothers,

whom the magpies stole from us
to weave nests from their hair.

We were too eager, too ravenous
to devour the fruits of their loss:

a sacrifice upon the altar
of our homes. Guilty of guiding

the birds with bits of pearl
and clay to our mothers’ windows,

we felt it for the first time.
That unfamiliar ache, a rusting

of parts yet undiscovered.