Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
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Love in the Time of Revolution
     for Scott

Listen, I know you are lonely.
I can see it in the way your hair curls down
over your forehead, the slump of your shoulders
as you bend to take a hit from the bong
you spent the weekend cleaning like a pistol.

And it takes the night being ravenous,
rejections at the bar,
and you being shitfaced to admit
through bloated eyes that you are human,
            just wanting to be held
            by a woman who loves you.

Believe me, nothing inside the body is ever quiet:
the heart whispers in its sleep, even
when the lips are closed. Blood chases itself
like a child down a labyrinth of veins,
like the water that recycles itself
through the lakes and marinas in Montana—

some processes can’t end. Even after love
the body keeps stretching, is filled with things
that move. My hairs stand on their own at the sight
of a moth, paddling circles around the foam
in a single unwashed bowl in the sink.


To love
           you say
                      It will happen on its own,
like drops of rain making a map on the window
or a baby, suddenly aware
           of its hands, exploring the freedom
of a fist.

Know that even as you read this you are envied
by the cholla, who, if it could think, would
believe that we can touch each other

without pain. I won’t lie—
you cut up the San Pedro, boiled it into a soup,
strained the needles from the meat
and called it medicine.
We drove for hours and I recalled
reading how in three hundred years
if it’s left untouched, the cactus will
finally show its bones.

We drank at noon,
the sun eyeballed us with suspicion,
knowing we have so much more choice
in how we rise and fall. I felt nothing
           but jealousy for the falcon, that
                      talking spirit that would not
abandon the sky, committed four hours
to tracing its name on the open palm of blue
so someone would know it was there.

We do the same. I counted the plastic bottles
John collected along the trail as we set up camp. Things
the land could not take back, like regret.


Sometimes voice is not enough. Sometimes
a word falls from us like a boulder and rolls unnoticed

until it is dust. I must say I tried.

I felt nothing but
           the fingers of the evening resting
on my cheeks, the needles catching
on my heel and staying
like the ghost of a childhood bog.

You left us in the circle
around the camp where the cacti danced
and died, shaking their skeletal knees
at the mountain.

What stories did they have to tell?

Nothing quite like your move to La Paz,
how in leaving you thought you would never see
Fedra again. How you loved her
without knowing her, and then she was gone.

That memory still moist
on your lips,
you met a friend of a friend during an uprising
and you found her in a city of 4,000—
you locked eyes. You kissed. You exchanged numbers
but never called her, that opportunity missed
like a train being swallowed
into a deep winter sunset.  

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