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A crust of wax
affixed with
breath hovers
near the window.

Doctors retreat
oh-so-quietly,
afraid to break
the blood of
this moment.

The hospital
sheets are so
impossibly thin,
like wafers,
& a fluorescence
wanders through
the four of us.

My father
assumes the
translucence
of memory.

I know it's over by
the stillness of his hand.
Battle day,
bottle night,

shrug the pills,
eat the light,

wrist of stars,
dripping yellow,

garbled sway,
muting fight,

madeira rill,
salt pier height,

wet ring bar,
moon's bellow.
Andrei,

I was a child
when I read
a piece of paper
& you died.

You were a telegram
falling from the air,
a moth, a stray dog,
a liner note passing
through my hands.

I pressed play
& Chopin unwound
like a serpent,
the mood shifting
like the rainbow
that feeds on oil's skin.

I went out
& found more.
Rachmaninov attacked,
a chess game
where the pieces moved
ten at a time.

& the Prokofiev,
followed me
around the house.

I was a child
when I saved you
with my ears.
Let me save you again.

Come, revenge
yourself a little while
in my old records.
Their eyes slash
like small fish.
I curl away,
ribbon against
the scissor arm.

Forget it, you won't
get blood from a stone.
**** therapists
press their steam.

Tongues hold, even as
words break away.  
Just wait them out, wait
them out, wait them out...
The crowd
busies itself
selling lemons
and shoes,
but beneath
the sweeping
scrapes of wall,
a pyramid
of eyes
greeds for
a death.
Look at this Moor,
with his dolphin
held like a bagpipe
splitting with water,

while beside him
tourists stack three deep
grabbing at their beer,
pretending to ponder

the veiled Nile,
while their eyes slant
towards the open seats
at the cafe and the Aperol

that issues so freely
you'd think Neptune
was pouring it out, too.
The sun is wincing citrus

above the high windows
that overlook the plaza,
laughter cresting above
the tourist scrum, and

children scream with gelato
strung between their fingers.
People like to be close
to history, but not too close.

If the old stones spit water
pleasantly, so much the better.
Browse the pamphlet,
tell the wife it's Bernini,

not knowing that Bernini
once paid a servant
to take a razor to the face
of his mistress because

she slept with his brother,
because history's scrawled
as much in blood as in marble,
and the colossal Pantheons

of the world are easier
understood with a dizzy
laugh and eyes shining
with afternoon wine.
She arrived
on a green wing.

She pressed the little curve
of her smile through a wide

wet heat that dropped
across the nestling city.

I squired her through shades,
worried about her sun-mood,

we drank coffee like mother's milk,
I worried about the green wing

that idled in the black field
of my mind, to carry her away.

It felt like a fairy tale.
Autumn arrived and wrestled

with the bright arm of summer.
The sun died in my pocket.

The moon cried behind gauze.
Corner stores kept selling

menthol one hundreds,
green wing echoes

that pressed on me.
We studied cakes and kings,

we looked at art the new way,
we traveled to the old cities

whose alleys twisted like veins,
branching with histories.

The customs man is obliging,
waives her future a few more weeks.

She has a firm date
with the rain city.

The green wing lolls in slow
circles through my thoughts.

When she takes those steps
toward the old castle,

toward the streets of beer
and whisky, toward friend

& half-friend, my heart
will turn to water in my chest

& the purple day's-end
will fade into a bruise-night

where I sit alone, choking on
possibilities, and wondering

why my hands now
feel so terribly heavy.
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