Three Poems

The Kingdom

In constant
shiver  and

hunger     in tatters
in envy

and bliss the kingdom
of weeds    laps

the blond edge
of field      the careful

square     cleared years ago
of boulder and

stump   so gold
grass might

thrive Apostle
here      is your opened

place   visible
as wound here

beside it the burred
green world

of thistle and
burdock of knots

uncut   saplings’
sutured branches

vigilant thicket
toward which your eye

where to be

hidden is
to be kissed

in secret and never
to name

its tangle
though you may

name its threads
Notebook of Air

And after, outside? Dusk
of not-summer, not-yet-fall,

the blue-quiet trees afloat 
in the slightly paler evening

that surrounds and allows them
to be. And you? You

came asking to be changed, a secret
even from yourself. And after, even beneath

the enormous thunder of city
bridge: crickets, calling the night back

to itself. As twirling in circles
calls the body back: green skirt lifting away

from thighs, oceans of air between
cloth and skin. Now you will keep

asking whatever you can
of the one window open above

the alley, its translucent curtain
saturated with lamplight, as if allowing

itself to be harmed
in the gentlest of possible ways.
Litany (California)

By blue, fog, lamp. By wing-bone and taillight. Streets we both walked a decade apart.

Sometimes jasmine’s steady candling at dusk. Sometimes the nine sentinel palm trees.

By the great fires farther north. By the continent’s farthest edge.

By sparrows chattering from the depths of the rosemary hedge, by plums splattered on sidewalks. Burned circle of skin inside the wrist: farther north, the burning shifting in the sky.

Plums with their secrets, their wet and tender. Over and over, a longing to equal their softness.

How much becoming it takes. Streets we both walked, heat map of bodies moving.

During the long rains, any brightness. Taillights like blurred rubies, climbing the hills. Any brightness to call you close.

Cluster of nine palms, visible from blocks away. Crown of fronds, calling.

By crown and calling. By the summer lake’s dried-up husk. Shifting palette of the hills, the ocean swallowed in fog.

Streets we both. That even concrete might retain a tracing. Map of bloom and fruit. Map brighter where bodies overlap.

Remember? One lamp turning its window truer. Rosemary flowers recalling the robes of saints.

By the crush of their leaves between fingers. By carrying the scent until it fades.

By the becoming. Streets we both, plums opening their skins.

By softness. How to equal it. By tender skin inside the wrist, rising beneath the burned place.
Written By
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