Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
print version

Bend as Would a God

::Raise the dead with a fingertip::

Caress your lover. Collect sweat
in your palm's dry mouth. See
 if you don't make mud.

::Chronology: the clock face of an open hand
                     Events therein determine our meaning::

           A broken finger has been taught
           the distance between live and exist.

::Creation is a dying art::

An old carpenter builds
a chair, the sight of which
makes him weep.
Does everything we build
commence spillage? Commune
with memory?

::Death's hand is a keyless gate of joints::

Your mother
slapped your brother.
Her hand, a furious lover,
discovered something chthonic
in his jaws, less hollow
than itself.

::Branches are elongated phalanges::

           A cypress tree's death.
           Leaves caught in the sprawling hand
           of a spider's web.

::Nature sharpens her blade on stones of death::

           A mosquito knows the taste of ash,
           has mingled its backhanded blood with graves.

           ::Blood—warmest finale::

A boy falls
out of a handstand
unaware of the body's desire
to spill his bloody smile,
his mouth wet with heat.

::Our bodies are salt
           dissolving bit by bit as we mourn::

Hands are collection plates,
are basins for sweat, which is holy.
See your reflection.
Fall in love with a just-
discovered self looking back.

  ::How to gather prayer::

Light a stick of incense.
Allow what has burned
to land in your palm.
Rub it between both hands.
The sound you make is a psalm.

::We unknowingly walk the length of dirges::

           Mama's hands peel. Dead
           cells glide onto the cold floor.
           A hush of dust. Ash.

::Palm lines lead to endings flowing
           infinitely toward life and death::

Star of fable.
Each line a daybreak,
a nightfall,
a season stalled
in the body.

::Possibility is calcareous
           Bend it as would a god::

Take one hand.
Curve your fingers.
Recline the thumb.
You have aligned the stars,
anthologized your life
in a decorative bowl
of bone.  

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