My Fear Is a Silent Jungle
At the top of the tallest temple
whose apex pokes from the snarl of life
like a middle knuckle
hunched in an exactly square
a monkey sings softly
paw curled around nothing
Along twisted pathways below
vines reach for the back
of something that ran by a century earlier.
I am the rain carrying an apology to your shoulders.
My Love Is a Greedy Deity
Worshipful one, I command thee:
bring Bartlett pears—three, or five—
slice them so no bruise remains
place them in a ring like a child’s
drawing of the sun.
In the center, erect an altar of gold filings
shaved from the wedding rings of high school
sweethearts, and on it pile grains of
wheat—seven, or eleven—
soaked a week in honey.
Then leave. Seek joy or angst as you will
but do not return until I call you.
I dine now.
I am the sunlight carrying freedom to your enemies.
My Body Is an Unmarked Detour
I stare at you from under bright orange hair
that seems to alarm you
gesture with my red-bearded chin
which takes the rest of my head with it
in what could be a yes or a suggestion for you to move.
Is there something you would like to talk about?
—my choice of shirt, my lack of a manicure?
Can you say anything to clear my doubts?
—Do you want me to approach or show myself out?
I am the wind carrying salt to your world.
My Memory Is a Dove in the Window
In a dream after her heart attack
my mother screamed “Bastards!”
a word she’s never said aloud
at a circle of grey-bearded men facing her
their shoulders hooked forward
hands hanging white at their sides like skinned birds.
I am the long-held note carrying answers to your daughters.