[Recollect the Face of me]
Remember me as an
chipped trunk, one ear,
or a tailless squirrel
languishing in dust.
Let me be that
ever vexing, ever present something,
cast away, retrieved.
Today I will be a porcelain
table for a one-legged doll,
her black sculpted hair scratched,
eyes fixed ahead.
For you I festoon
a spread of china bits, tea
cups, plastic fish.
Every detail of our life
observed in miniature—there is your
folded napkin, your
match and cigarette,
[The nearest Dream recedes—unrealized—]
Then we set up a sort of camp, best we could,
hung shells stuffed with phosphorous plankton,
emitting a cool green light—by which to read.
Nothing from the radio, and we stopped listening
eventually. Our pleas bounced back unheeded,
and it was easier to forget the world above, than
remember we were ourselves forgotten.
Eating was not difficult. The fish, giant, blind
seekers, nuzzled up to us and we killed
them in their dumb trust. Their flesh was
dense and feathered with fat. We were warm
regardless of the ocean’s chill, wrapped in an
excess of food and salt. Like teenagers,
arms and legs sprawled on the sea floor.
My dreams were little boats sailing us to land,
rigged with high-tension spider web, with
eels along the hull to push us further.
Catching sight of land, we’d descend, dry
eyed and sober, to meet the feathered
denizens of this new world. Such
ego, you’d tell me in the waking, a continent
so mapped for my pleasure, rivers that follow
unquestioning my hand. But they are mine,
not withstanding your presence, and such dreams
relax into memory given time and a pinhole’s
eke of light. We need so little to develop
a clear picture. You try to signal
lightweight planes that X our island, but no one
is transmitting the coordinates of our smoking
zeppelin, or of the fiery words we’ve spelled with
each grain of molten sand. I want us undiscovered,
damned to this partnership, to each other.
[Bloom upon the Mountain—stated—]
By my sidelong glance, by my hand’s
linger—I told you my history,
of rushing home before cock crow,
of my dancing shoes worn through,
my petticoat askew.
propriety, I shimmied
no fear of drowning—
this is how a lost thing
heaps fortune over her like leaves,
eats her way out of a tower of cakes—
my hair grew as long as needed,
or I cut it loose and spun a coat,
under which I passed as a youth,
new to the world and unstubbled,
the one who delighted the bored,
It isn’t that I loved him, but
no one else presented.
Sincere apologies for this wayward
tale, this hand that travels
along your breeches.
The shy of me is buried in a crystal box,
evidenced by this hole I carry
dangling from my wrist.