I am so tired these days but
forced to sleep on the floor,
our mattress already in storage.
Yes, he left like a vagabond
song in the ashen light of morning,
his big hands like hibiscus leaves
on my shoulders. The apartment is
so silent I think I can hear bats
clawing the eaves. Or is it
Odysseus chaffing against the mast?
Or worse, relaxing in the grasses
of Aeaea? Maybe it is just the tires
moving over asphalt in the rain, or
the joists in me crumbling. Ava,
do you ever hear anything over
the wide sound of your family?
Every now and then I get the urge
to tap my fingers against the empty
gourd of someone else’s stomach.
I yearn for dirt in between my toes,
and sun twirling like an awl above us.
Sometimes I think Mama was petrified
by the sounds that swarmed her.
Sometimes I forgive her. In the fridge
tufts of parsley and a whole head
of cauliflower. And butter and eggs
so I have been baking loaf after loaf
of banana bread. I take liberties
with how much sugar to put in, and,
at times, when one is finished swelling
over the edges of its pan, I hold
the warm risen lump in my lap.
The Further We Wade Out
You have come to the shore [and] there are no instructions.
Look here where we limn the shore by the thousands,
laze away the day under an intercom of sun, let the collapse
of water lull us to sleep, and you easily see wealth and languor,
that we are wildly pleasure-seeking, honey bees lapping
at a vast trough of nectar, cans of coke glinting like altarpieces
in the sand; But look closer and see this: that we are together
the children of spheres, lying out under a tangle of clouds
with the persistent hope that the dear distant scattering orange
animal will touch us with its warm tongue like a mother
cleaning her offspring after birth. Each time it disappears
into the sheet music of movement, we stare like kids
who have lost their bright yellow ball in the brush, wait
for the world to push it back into our palms, golden layer
cake our everyday. And it does, roll out each time like a new idea,
a yolk. The motes around the sandcastles slowly swallow
the castles down, leave only the glistening subdivisions of light.
The sand affectionately covers us with convection, glitters
across joints. We wade out into circularity, our knees going under,
our mouths O-ed in eager anticipation for the next wave to fold
us into the amniotic semicircle of the world. Our earthen eyes
reflect the sun’s imperative—pour out another ocean. We are
momentarily breathless, rich green seaweed ringing around our bodies—
dispatches from the deep bell of beneath—sea swell like heart swell.
The further we wade out, the less distinct we become, seeds scattering,
making the horizon less linear. Seagulls scavenge, leave the carcasses of
shellfish strung like syllables on the beach. And we emerge, our lips
salted, the hair on our bodies beaded like the luminous strands of
a sonogram, speechless but aglow.