The Blue Pitcher

that which may be filled and emptied

And Throbs

though what an awful word isn’t it an awful word or not an awful word a blushing word a word that hides behind itself I can think of only two things besides light that throb pain and the penis and which of those shall I lie with all night even as a light snow falls over Chicago as the earth quakes in Oklahoma and which of those shall I coddle and caress bottle and press until morning sun breaks the window

And Also it Spreads

across the sky faithfully like in school how we learned that we can only predict a day will come because since birth we have known days that come so we can say it will come but it is not certain it will come we can only be certain that the day has come not that it will come which is also like the spring and the cardinal a letter death of course we can say only that we believe that this will happen and then after the happening we can say we always knew

The Light Cuts

through the room this morning not in a threatening way but in a way of someone who you would trust with a knife to a loaf of bread or some freshly dug vegetable if you were in the habit of trusting anyone with knives and I worry that my daughters will always trust or be so taken aback when it comes time to not trust that their hearts are not developing the proper calluses that my menagerie might become broken that I should lock the doors that the window’s drapes should be pulled tighter that the tracks in the snow are made by an animal that even I would not recognize

Belief

I let my husband smoke the Cubans,
because they’ll go bad, he tells me,

and I believe him. I am in the practice
of believing, the practice of believing,

and making believe, of make believe.
All morning, the horses in the snow,

and me, in a house built of seagrass,
and my daughters leaving their crumbs.

If I offered you the truth, (I did. I did.),
would you stand with your face towards

the wind? My back burns against you.
Can you feel it still? Shadow and smoke.

On my beliefs, I may well choke.

18.

Stevens must have scribbled
His curds and birds in a legal pad
Among the zeroes and ones
Among miracles and devastations
Clear water in a brilliant bowl
I cup my hands to catch
What is left of us bright paper
The men have no shadows
And the women have only one side

17.

The paltry nude stands sea-green
Bathed in the light of an old TV
If Connecticut be Connecticut
Then let Connecticut be
Remember how you came to me
Form and fire I had words
For you that had nothing of desire
But the seams of seeming burst
And in the being I quench my thirst

The Interrogations (6)

So, my mother. Small and bright.
More bird than human, really.
More animal, or essence, or…
Have you ever tried to trap light?
Though I suppose humans
are more animal than bird. Am I?
My student was saying she has hope
for AI, hope that it may become
intelligent, hope that there may
be something else with a mind,
that we aren’t the only mindful beings.
But my mother, yes. Small.
Flickering. Her stomach was growling
In class. The student’s. Not my mother’s.
They all bring food to class. We sit
at a long table. They gorge themselves.
I call it The Last Breakfast. I don’t mean
to be inscrutable. I’m trying to answer
your questions. Everyone comes
in hungry and leaves full. My mother
came in hungry. She was abandoned,
but she never had lice. She never had lice,
but she was abandoned. Small graces.
Crumbs on the table. I gorge myself
with them, and then the light comes in.

The Interrogations (5)

5.

But if the shape was darkness
why did you walk towards it,
and walking towards it,
why did you take off your shoes,
and unlacing yourself, what did
you imagine you might receive,
and receiving, why did you not offer,
and when they passed the dish,
why did you finger the coins
and swipe the dollar, and when
you witnessed the lady wrapped
in the flag of your country,
smoking a thin cigar outside
the laundromat, and you were hot,
why did you not give her your coat?
Are you proud of your privilege?
Have you yet acknowledged suffering
as relative? And as for your shame:
have you honored it for what it is?

The Interrogations (4)

How did you end up in that room?
I had been told the answer was in
the poems. And so? And so I waited
until sunrise, and then I walked along
the streets. Did they seem familiar to you?
No, I carried a map. You followed a map?
I followed it, but when I arrived, I burned it.
The burning smelled like last night, like
last night, and a plastic cup of water,
and I knocked on the door, and the poem
was there waiting for me. How do you undress
a poem? Well, you don’t at first, you just run
your hands along it. I was looking for signs
of life, for warmth. I pressed myself
against it, and it against me. I wanted
to flatten the words, or to swallow them,
but I was so lazy, I just let them seep
into me. And, was the seeping enough?
It seemed to be, but it wasn’t. When I left,
I was lost. I asked a stranger where
the white house was, but he was mute,
and so I became mute, and then it started
to rain, and I’m sorry, I forgot the question.

13.

And then there is rapture
Against which there is earth
The mud and petals of earth
My friend says she is tired
Of everyone looking at the sky
And so we look inside
The rooms in which we’ve locked
Ourselves and the heat
Gasps and churns and
We cross our hearts to silence