So surprised is the breeze upon
My arrival that it holds its own
Breath and I nearly drown.
One moment waiting to devour
A pregnant apple in the market’s singing
Sun the next a deep-milked violet hum
And he knows she comes but knows not
Who she is.
A slouched desire to stifle these
Mermaids too sequined to speak;
They glimmer in ombre shadows
Of sweated gold and silver
And the glassy lapis lazuli
That looks so smooth but crumbles
Into chalk dust settling into the rivets,
Wrinkles near my lip, on my tongues.
Where the well
Of a waterfall dapples the salmon striped
Rock above and there is someone’s god in the trick
And it is too much—so she goes.
Octavia weeps and her knees congeal,
cold butter into the floor.
She will only return as a clawed branch
Julienning the queen’s face, halfheartedly.
A sleeping kitten shifting on nylon stockings.
There is a place where two rivers meet
But also do not. The first runs warm and taupe,
Dipping neatly under the second—
the second frosted with purpose.
It is a miracle but it is also nothing.
The tension explodes off stage.
“Alarum afar off, as at a sea fight.”
Like in the drooping heat of a flame
Where borders are smudged and dreams
Themselves sleep. Bleeding gums,
Like rotting poppies, and swollen.
A dead sparrow, only a comma of bones
And bent feathers but
If she is missing her eyes
We think of her for hours.
Life like a shadow box.
We eat apricots, slit the throats
Of those who betray us,
Make love—or business,
And each casts the same long
Dishwater line behind the skin.