I moved to a place where there are a lot of poems about mountains.
My love is a peak. My love is a boulder. My love is a river and you are its blossoming tributary.
I wanted to hear something different.
My love is a guillotine with a blade of steel.
My love is a sharp shooter aimed at Obama.
My love is a murderer taking children from warm beds.
My love is a bottle of cherry soda. It fell over on the bedspread when you were inside me and I moved to see the clock. The window was open and I was waiting, cold. “Finish,” I told you. The soda spilled across my thigh. You spread your palm over my face. You put your lips to the sticky sweet.
You were thinking, I don’t like the taste of cherries.
Your tongue found the landscape of my hip.
It was a mountain ridge.
I moved to an island where there are a lot of poems about birds.
Chickadees and owls flutter in the stanzas.
Hawks and terns wing the pen.
Eagles and loons perch upon the verses.
I wanted to hear something different.
Of bats not birds. Snakes not raptors.
A vulture might do.
Naked head. Folds of rubbery, red skin. Scanning for a corpse, a split in the body, an orifice to force himself into. Fresh kill warms his cheeks as he slides in. Tendons and hard muscle blind him. Blood, thick as paste, still pulses from a vein onto his feathers. He takes as much as he can before he hears the screeches of others
I moved to a town where there are a lot of poems about the morning.
I can’t write about the night because it no longer frightens me.
I moved to a hamlet where there are a lot of poems about poems.
And here is another.
I moved to a podunk where there are a lot of poems about forgetting.
When I try to write about forgetting all I can do is remember.
I am a child.
I am nine.
I have a bicycle.
I am riding.
I have just eaten a cookie.
A car pulls over.
The man has his pants open.
He leaves the engine on as he strokes it and I don’t see his face.
He asks for directions.
Of course, I am polite.
I tell him where he’s going isn’t very far.
I point north across the water.
“It’s a very peaceful place,” I say.“It’s really very nice.
A lot of people there write poems about mountains.”
She is too young. Her robes themselves are a responsibility. She couldn't arrange her own son’s burial, so she asked for help. She prayed. Her son’s father answered and sent people to care for the body. They placed him across her lap. Now her hands are not clutching her throat to hold back a scream. They are not slapping his face as she frantically whispers, “Wake up, honey. You still have chores to do.” Instead her left palm rests, open, passive, as if she waits to be paid for her sacrifice in cash. The weight of him across her hips reminds her of his birth, when Joseph gave him to her in the barn and she supported him under the shoulder blades, tiny as bird bones then. She does the same now. Her child now adult but her fingers splayed just the same without a thought, maternal return. He was a greedy infant at her breast. She closes her eyes now to remember how he bit her, drawing blood from the nipple. She’d been careful not to let the shepherds see he’d hurt her. And now, after his murder, she’ll have to be careful like that for eternity, never showing how he ripped her when he alone consented to die. Her name became pity too soon. Pity holds an awful weight across the belly.
They told me, “It’s just a conversation.” And if writing is just chatting, rapping, what can I say to you that you will hear? I might say cunt and cock and then say them again. But these are not words for a polite conversation. They are only blurted with my lover when I’m not trying to say anything at all. What can I say to you then? Shall I tell you the things I’m not proud of? Perhaps, but I don’t think you’ll like it. I believe some people do not deserve to live. That they’d be better off dead. And I think God is dead, a deadbeat dad at the very least. Is this better? Do you want to hear more or are you done? I’m not a very good mother and I’m not working on it. I have other things to do with my time. And here’s another secret. I long to be a worse person than I am because I’ve always been good and bad would be my joyous release. I could tell you all the sad things, all the bad things, what I think but never utter. (I know the limits too well.) Would that begin our exchange? Would that break the ice? Naw, you’d only look at me differently then. Your eyes would shift down my pants to the floor, a broken trust. A silence would bloom rabid between your chair and mine. Tonight we called the writer fearless. I nodded as we praised her thinking, It’s just because she has no one left. Every one of them stumbled away stunned and grieving. Her words may be fearless, but what she says is only terror, and she may receive accolades but she'll get no replies. It’s not conversation. She’s just so lonely now she's talking to herself.