Three Poems
Sandra Meek

Healing by Secondary Intention

Dark rosette in the lung’s

pewter lace, early autumn chill

Splinters of coal

asbestos mist

the long
intention of habit, pack

after pack

Now she is all
effect, and all

coming out at once, the hair she combs
to dogwood and oak-

crisped air—

Secondary intention:
a dog bite heals by leaving

the palm unstitched, the wound


Astringent sky, morning

a feathered arch, quilled light

Summer a lost net
of held rain

Spring, I will find her, all down this street

Birds’ nests, threaded with silver

On Vengeance

Surfacing starved out the heart
                                      of swallowed salt from the kelp’s

black bulb, glitter
             a shattering of skin, crystals

clinging to the strand
                         of yarn a child soaks in brine

to replicate the miracle
             of evaporation shimmering in a jelly jar, icy

wick sparking
                         an approximation of winter, close

as you get this far south, the world brief
                                                             under glass, yard

a broken abacus, each grass blade beaded
                                                 with petrified light. Sky

fallen to ice.
That hard flight.

New Construction

Nothing stops the north drift down, not rising
off-season heat, not bandaged roofs marooning a continent’s

storm-gnawed edge, not orange groves ground beneath skeletons
of houses staccatoed with sawdust and wire scrollings

sleeved in caution’s seal-sleek skin, the marrow
what electrifies—

                         Cadaver by cadaver, the scaffold of bone
breaks down, as a toothpick-thin ship threads

away from its bottle’s blown glass—bone
morticians looted and sold: fibula, femur

plied from limbs rag-dolled and rigged
to sheath plumbing pipes to pass the body

through open-casketed view,
the canal of air rich with lily,

carnation. What’s missing
re-circuits into the still-

breathing suspended in a surgical theater three
blinkered states away—

                                      You can drive all the way to country
and never touch earth; you can bottom out

in heartland where vaulted wheat
volts away from the silo’s erect

conical tip, harvest
a reversal of light, a flowing-back into the body falling silver

storey by swirling storey, as groundwater
siphoned from arteries tangled in bedrock slips down pipes’

copper-laced throats, southern light streaming
faucet to hose to embedded

flowers along a drive the spreading desert beads
with bird-shot—

                         Bone by bone, tooth
by tooth, the thorntrees’ splintered staircase

sweeps to flame; fist by fist, pulped pines
paper the sky with phantom-limb, phantom-

needle, so what drills the distance
deeper isn’t the question

mark of a dust devil raising a scrim
of spat-up sand and mica-wings, but what shivers the blown-

open silence—chaff of the hilltop
dynamited to foundations, to concrete’s fluent

stiffening mimicking the shattered
ladder of stone didn’t we think would always hold us

up through the whitened
and widening air.