originally appeared in Mountain Gazette
Altar of the Uncivilized
He tends to bring home
trinkets of life. A leaf in full death
color. A cricket in the launching pad
of his hand. Slices of mica,
such flattened fragile opal, and
pyrite’s chiseled mirrors with their lifey illusions,
once volcanic, hardened in time.
He is my young lover, one who still
wanders and discovers
lichen between sidewalks,
a lush universe in the crack of cement.
Or a yucca seed pod, maraca, worth saving.
He is my partner in such things,
by choice childless as we are.
My older brother
has rediscovered lightning bugs
with his own children.
He had forgotten
how we used to light up lantern jars
of them, after a successful July’s eve.
Their bodies glowing like saints.
Today, my lover gifts me
with a sunflower trinity, one,
a dried saucer husk, petals long dropped,
one in full sun bloom, its brown eye surprised,
and one with petals tucked,
a hand of prayers
full of hope.
originally appeared as a poetry finalist in the Southeast Review
There is that moment of letting go,
and sometimes it takes years.
The daily muscle release of each ten fingers.
And palms––their lifelines mismatched,
fleshy roadmaps diverging––
one of them loosens
out of love.
Across miles of telephone lines
now invisible years later,
the connection is a tenuous landscape.
Can you hear me now?
No. I will not listen.
The fingertips slip
and then dry in the swift rush of time.
The grace full tumble,
the knee tuck into positions fetal, then feral,
wild with freedom,
that moment of freefall trust
knowing something is there:
a dry firm grip
or the welcome spectacle of death.
And then from the ceiling shadows
the spotlight catches you, parts of you,
the eyes, the lips, an ear.
Hello, hello, can you hear me?
Our voices hesitant as sweaty hands
we try again,
and cling to the words.