Poem

a poem is a house into which / words are inserted // permeable, vapour or rain / altering the light outside ...

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When Ishmael escaped from the closed Bible / on the dresser with family names that were // only tangentially yours, you looked to the emergency / site for inclemency and found fire was rapidly ...

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When I scooped fists of never-garden dirt into the song-hole, /  I never felt more able. // When these wrists start to ache without pause from the carrying, / why, I will wrap them in a bandage.

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Dusk when the people in the trees / stand out against the dark – // but it isn’t dark, only a deep gradation / of the light –

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We can walk into a room not knowing. / It doesn’t happen every time. // A white room can be painted to be pure. / I mean, just to show us that it’s clean.

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Dear god-herd, golden god-horde, Lord / Protectors of the meek and green-fed: / when we came in from the cold / ten thousand winters back, the terms ...

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When I read there were 170 women / seized from brothels in the Gardenia / district, loaded into police wagons / and crammed into the hull of a ship, / I wonder if they held hands. Or prayed.

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All morning, I read about Christian mystics. After a long bath, I wear a caftan and silver ring. / Intolerable hours of waiting for you. I plunge my hands in ice water. // The sun is red and low when I meet you by the fountain. Houses on steep hills light up. You speak / to me with your deep voice like a man hammering in a forge. I thrill at the sound like a dog ...

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Smoke softens the trees, a swift omen scented before seen. / It warps what it brings, from the sun to grief. // I stir on the stoop I rent. All around me wasps shimmy, / Orange alphabet of knives. I call them father and son ...

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In the garden, my father sits in his wheelchair / garlanded by summer hibiscus / like a saint in a seventeenth-century cartouche. / A flowering wreath buzzes around his head – ...

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