I take the compliment
to my second self
in the garden,
white vinegar breath
an axil from her lips.
a strong stake aids
a slender, unassailable
stalk is a matter of self-
denial and solace. I want
appurtenances of accepting
more than I can mother
O despotic little nodes!
My second self counts
nigella seeds, sugar ants, BBs,
defending her right
Demanding a future
like the compliment,
black, focused, a hope
light as a petiole,
My second spans,
in E-Major cashmere
gloves. French Suite.
And me, grave? Of course.
I serve all my guests tiger lilies.
I have forgotten the form of sympathy—pulling out
my hand from death’s mouth has become a sticky affair.
Too casual, thick-tongued, blurry, too. Death’s symphony is on
the speakers that sit between the handlebars of the motorized cart
of the man I greet at Rotary Park. He walks his black and white dog,
flop-eared, and I walk mine, slowly, for twice tonight she vomited
at my feet, kibble, a blueberry I fed her at lunch. Picking her up,
holding her in my arms, it wasn’t lightness I felt, not her brittle
-built, hollowed-out body, but the spasm of a goodbye behind
my eyes, in my throat. The sky is a sheet of fire. Closed, the slide
slopes with ash. Tissue. Mass. Yes, there are flaps and secrets,
trick bookcases in the animal body, casks murky with old cola.
After she was sick, I knelt under the table and covered her
with impossible prayers. My hands said, Dear, dear, dear, dear,
dear—nothing, no syllable is impossible, not even a prayer,
not even walking a dog without walking yourself. Impossible is not
impermanent. After so many years of hihello-ing, I still don’t know
who I have been good to and who I’ve hurt. My dog leads me
into a fluff of mown grass. She stretches and lies down and rests
her face on her front paws, the white heart of fur on head opening,
quivering like a ventricle, like a baseball diamond in an empty park
at dusk, like a fermata repeated measure after measure in Bach’s
French Suite on Memorial Day weekend, coexisting not competing
with the freight trains. What have I seen? Jeeped line of nine
in the Dairy Queen drive-thru, dairy-free Dilly bar, Brownie Batter
Blizzard digitizing on a sign I cannot help but read. This morning,
leashed to a bench, my dog watched me move bricks from the patio
to the garage. It was clear there were fewer bricks than I’d suspected.
Dear Unfeeling Martinis,
air that finds me
on the floor
the broken door.
I open it
and hate it
from Thai basil
in Italian terracotta.
I do miss
with my poison
trating my vile
I used to
He began by parching me,
reserving the cup
for oracles. If I could
ward off famine
with signs, let them be
ram in the sky,
I coughed up cartilage,
crept to the wood,
his Joey can do better––
I knew I could––
I will. Show him
my grip, reared
to wring the stars
from his silk.
See him Taurus
there, crouching, Krios
bedding me golden,
razing my fleece.