A Forest: Unwooded

Have you ever met a woman
like hickory?
Slender hands touch the sun and
she can’t think of earthly things.
She can sway without
lifting root
bear the sky without
shrugging

standing somber among the felled
she can stare – cold –
browned autumn eyes
fall, jarring the
boldest men
quaking the
stillest earth.

Learning to swim

My modern madonna knows herself
more than any before her
and learned her body
before any man could
covet her
Is she beauty or is she
a trophy out of reach

or is she the imperfect woman
sinking beside me
smiling while I
drown

I cling to what she let go
and crave what she never wanted

could I find her subterranean
rack of bones
could I hold up her spine and
smile
like she did while I floundered
to find mine

Hallowed

A colony embarks beneath
a temple
of pine
and builds a home beside
my right hand
balanced carelessly atop root.
Cones of light splay over our
sanctuary, listening in on
sacred lessons
stealing away with our secrets
hiding them between layers
of sky.
I am one and they are
one thousand, showing me
the might an army can
carry atop an exoskeleton
and I could smash their tiny world
with the careless weight of my
right hand,
bringing them five plagues
of destruction with
formidable metacarpals.
I watch, instead, with
youthful intrigue
as they create a world
with their many legs
meticulously growing
grain by grain
a private congregation
in our consecrated place
of worship
and I wonder how this
mass of unity and I
could possibly
share the same sun.

Shipwreck

His boat was small and splintering
but he took on water
gladly
welcomed it so he could be
closer to her
a crooked oar glided through blue streams
and he dipped his hands to feel her
and taste her
each drop to his lips like a compass
to her heart
the rivers long and pale as her legs
sliding between mountains
her hips
and north through hills
traversing her breasts, searching
for an outlet
to something submerged
finding each tributary dried
each mine caved in.
Navigated her flesh for decades
just to hear her flowing
just praying his modest boat
might capsize one day,
and sink somewhere
closer to her

Omission

Sometimes there’s an instant of
honesty
before you answer
when you weigh your words
weigh what you really
want to say
and life would certainly
bloom with color
if you told them
what you think
not just what
you build
because is anyone ever
completely honest?

At twenty-something you’ve
told more lies than
you have truths
and you’re better for it
really
because no one
ever knew you needed them
and no one
ever knew you might
wilt if they left

mighty sarcophagi propped
by your bedside
carry your words
and that might be enough
to hold your tongue
just glances between sheets
messages hidden in
sweat and breath

put your thoughts on a scale
and see if anyone ever
needed your veracity
anyway

On the Inside

He had a nomad heart wrapped in stone
a porous mold only she could
leach through
and it burned him up, holding her inside
having someone so close to something
so soft
and she could shred him to pieces
he thought
if she really wanted to
sometimes she held her pointed nails
to the fragile, beating mass
just to feel him tremble
just to know she could

if she wanted to

and he kept her there
gambling on sharp edges
to remind himself
he was human