Blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
an online journal of literature and the arts
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Elegy Addressed (Atom Cloud, Hand)

At the end of the needle: the eye.

At the end of the eye: smoky pirouettes of swans
in a turned lake, robed in their black angers.

If you were in the ruins and the ruins inside you were a lake.

If you swam in the lake of your ruined mind, bullet
and umbilical, biting down time,

biting it clean as the widening field of inquiry
in a bright telescope,

the view at the end of a diminishing city.


This is the one to end all dreams.
A hunger so large it stops the mouth.

We wrap up the dreamer in giant leaves
before tossing him into the river.

The villagers say,
“The fish are ravenous.”

They say, “But don’t hold back.”
“It doesn’t matter if they don’t leave much
because after all
you can keep nothing.”

A great wave comes to lick
clean the gnats

in the bed of the dreamer.


You are

a sparrow shell that something
made a tiny hole in to suck the yolk out.

You are
the overturned train
inside the shell: red-velvet seats, bits
peeled off and stuck to the sides
of the track,
which is twisted and wrapped
out and around like someone’s hair—

as if a mouth put to one silver line
could pitch a sound across and over,

until everything was covered
in that single small noise.


And if the town inside you
were burning
and the women and children were
balls rolling in a rubber ring
and you could pull out a single person
which person would you choose?
Duck, duck, goose.
You know how this goes.
Maybe you’re like the stethoscope
without the doctor.
Or the rubber flower that comes to
stand in for the flower.
That’s like the song I’m making for you.
I confuse you with everyone else
I meant to save, or love.


This is what I’d like to tell you.

I don’t know how/ to take care
of anyone.

Imagine/ a woman crossing into herself
so deeply/ that even animals

used to burrowing in winter
can no longer
sense her presence.

And sometimes when I love a/ boy

I want to take him inside/ my arms the way
a seam swallows a dark spreading mark.

I want to blow his irises black.

And I want/ to coax the flower
the carmine/ flower

until it closes on the insect that’s made its
home/ inside it,

the brilliant glass beetle that knows no
other/ world than this one.

Then we topple, two pins in the middle
of a jellyfish diaspora.


Even now, I do not know how
to go through with this procedure.
I’d rather let the entire stem
of the body atrophy than cut off
a single hand. Here, in the room,
I lick the threads so that the two bits fuse,
then blow them clean. Sun makes a halo
behind the hand-held mirror. The mirror
is cold on the side I face, plate of flame
on the other. My face is clear.

How do I let go, if I’m not willing
to leave anything behind?


Meanwhile the world comes off
your petrified flesh like pearls.

Something passing overhead,
a cloud of cumulus flowers.

It’s hard to negotiate a private and
unsubstantial grief.

It’s like putting on the wrong body by mistake.

It’s like crossing into air and not knowing
what you’re making the crossing for.

Me, too.

Me too, and here I am nodding with you,
I’m propping your head back up.


The antler blooms on the body took over the entire

—if, indeed, it could have been called
the entire—

what left you first came back as a crash,
pushing through the waves, not wanting to give you up
I didn’t want to give you up

in all the cymbals, there was only the great force

under great constraint, love comes, tumbling,  through
large crests of   the filigree of



Or what came after then, folding
and buckling as

the weeping cranes, with tips that sweep
to the side among reeds

might find a place between sun
and hydrangea       bird  and sea  end  

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