Growing Up, Poetry, Things I Can

75. Things I Can Lay Down: A Nest under Sky

From the dining table of a rich absent landlord,
from a rooftop tilting over
screaming streets,
from the hide of a man
whose soft fangs belie
battles he claims
as the source of his scars,
I plucked splinters
and locks of discarded hair.

I was ravenous
even for hollow breath
echoing against a bare wooden
belly. Strings cut flesh to callous
and every song clanged
like paper against my hunger.
I tried to pry frets
from the neck. I tried to harvest
spider legs.

A sign was necessary. A silver
ring or maybe a strip
of fur curling on the tip
of a thorn. I walked
not away. Something else.


a canopy of sumac, bent like a crooked
house, I passed
through to the first division
and pressed petals
back into their seed.
I swaddled my thighs
in creek water. I bled
into moss.

I lay down a bed like a bow
to the half open moon.
The voice I used to call
up the shape of a home in the sky
Goodnight you moonlight ladies
was the same lunatic jabber
of coyotes coursing through folds
in a mist forever closing
between us.

I wake now to the face of a frozen sun,
my bones young and brittle, hung
with crystal globes and gloved
in frost. I glitter like grass
and shatter in the light. Blowing
out from a depression
in the earth shaped like someone
I catch a full spectrum
of morning

in each one
of my birth’s hundred
billion prisms
every time
I refuse
to die.


1 thought on “75. Things I Can Lay Down: A Nest under Sky”

  1. katie ford’s speak to us

    For all of my years, I’ve read only living signs—
    bodies in jealousy, bodies in battle,
    bodies growing disease like mushroom coral.
    It is tiresome, tiresome, describing
    fir cones waiting for fires to catch their human ribs
    into some slow, future forest.

    My beloved, he tires of me, and he should—
    my complaints the same, his recourse
    the same, invoking the broad, cool sheet suffering drapes
    over the living freeze of heart after heart,
    and never by that heart’s fault—the heart did not make itself,
    the face did not fashion its jutting jawbone
    to wail across the plains or beg the bare city.

    I will no longer tally the broken, ospreyed oceans,
    the figs that outlived summer
    or the tedious mineral angles and
    their suction of light.

    Have you died? Then speak.
    You must see the living
    are too small as they are,
    lonesome for more
    and in varieties of pain
    only you can bring into right view.

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