My Mother as a Bird
The stroke left a smile
like she swallowed something bitter. She
doesn't speak much, rarely sings
those bawdy hymns that always grated
on my teenage ears
like a beak
One arm struggles against
an invisible shell, egg
tooth lost in the crippled
bill; trembling hands scream,
more articulate than
the primed speech of parrots.
when words flew
from her mouth
when smiles and whispers spoke
of men she'd had
like cocks who pecked around her,
to better show their manhood.
Her legs are as flaccid now as old breasts. We
struggle to the toilet seat --
no underpants, to
make things easier.
No diaper either. We
both are glad it has not come to that.
She jokes how things have gone
at twenty-three she wore no panties
she says, and I
struggle with the words --
I wonder while I feed her if
she dreams of men, if
the pale eyes that stare through me
see them at the window, strutting
their stuff, spreading
their tails like peacocks.
She opens her mouth, wide
like a fledgling bird.
I spoon porridge, wipe
with a free hand.
In the Dark
If infinity lies
beyond the term of night
like a drop of ink
balanced on a knife edge,
sorrow serrates the blade
and only love's whetting stone
can help us.
with your clothes
beside the bed, your scent
like the sudden spark I felt
when tenderness struggled
from your eyes,
I am thinking
tonight earth has torn from orbit
both of us
into the dark.
One Day at Annan
The air here is as moist as the young woman
who walked by us yesterday, waves caressing sand
she moved her legs together. At least
I imagined her wet as she looked at you
her water tipping toward your lips
like the wine you drank with your lobster.
And I marvelled you could heard the ocean
sibilant in her thighs, above the steady tide
of my estrogen ebbing away
Talking to the Wind
after all the nights of your memory molded
in the cold sheets, I am ready to listen
to forget the conversation of our bodies
the bluster of arms and legs
and pull your face before me, listen
to your thoughts until the sun fills
Days are made of minutes, minutes
hours, hours days, and days are all the same
though nothing is the same now.
Clouds are pushing, knocking themselves
shells and fish, and
the thin screams of sea birds cut me
into awkward shapes. I
was always molding myself to fit a space
I couldn't see. Your eyes
giving strange alarums as I talked
of what I would do with my life.
Now you are a face before my window
the wind blowing in from the sea
and I want to bend into you, who
was always where I lived
though I never knew it then.
was a stranded starfish, beached
driftwood sinking into weeds,
a tern clinging to the windswept shore.
Now I remember how well your hand
around mine, and our minds
flowing into sand.