we lust after,
they should all
The flaming stack
but a tiny flare reflected
in your pupil.
The body washed ashore, washed ashore with the Liberians.
A crab ran across an ankle.
Someone said they saw it before, semi-conscious,
boarding a plane. The men, fresh from the Asian girls party,
said we'll do it at this marker here. And it heard, but could not
and did not feel fear enough to protest. Thoughts of the dog,
hungry now and chewing the furniture, morning runs through the park
and the legs getting soft above the knees. The parents beginning
to worry and what it would mean to them that their love
had been watered down and siphoned away, that they needn't have
it in the first place, because what of it? There is a body, sodden,
washed ashore with Liberians, black weeds tangled in the thick hair,
the fingers squeezed by rings. It should be of some comfort that it felt
even as it fell. That it saw, but did not record, the glassy sea,
and noticed the quilt they wrapped it in, and thought once more of the
It should be of comfort that others washed ashore, too. It's not
so lonely there,
in the sand, watching stars birth stars inside its own pupils. Death throbs
and if there was pain in its stead, why weep for the bodies turned to
through grass. They still hear the water, they are not cold.
DISTANCE FROM THE WAR
Much like living inside an egg—
we see inside our own skulls. The sun points
through our holes—just like the video.
My bod, see how it burns—red leaves/fireflowers/
tongues in light. Now slow-mo—the body hits dust
and the impact cloud rises round it/a charred doll
hung from a bridge. Trigger me this—
how when my mouth is a bud on the dogwood limb,
it cannot sing holy phrases
to woman and child who chat like nothing happens
all day on the front porch step.
"Distance from the War" came
from a fatigue with talking to myself. I like to think that the voice
of that poem speaks to someone else as well. "Island" came from
paying way too much attention to the sensational news, b/c it's a poem
about abduction and subsequent horrible death. And "Manifesto"
is just a compact and ephemeral desire that comes on suddenly from time
to time. Simple stuff.
Reading list: Deborah Landau's Orchiddelirium and Louise Mathias's