Confessedly, I still haven´t learned how to count on my fingers and memories all the ways in which you have been and you are and the ways I hope you´ll be good. Even with birdsong, the unwanted and diseased lurk like lions in every field.

G-d, forgive me my wariness as I praise you.

I don´t know if I´ve seen suffering and wickedness beyond my years, or rather that it has cut me like a chisel, shaping the way my lips try to exalt and my heart tries to believe.

But Ezekiel writes about a river, bringing life to every tree, and in this vision each tree bears fruit each month, and even the leaves are meant for healing. And when it´s seemingly impossible to believe in anything, this is it--this river--and I see it in the far-off distance and I trust you that it´s not a mirage.


break up your fallow ground

In the hot smell of pine and eroding cheapened soil,
I have not forgotten your scent.
Through tall red grasses, my footsteps beat the trail,
eyes on every crook and bend

I found the body of a locust there,
a cracked and black-eyed specimen
long as my hand, thicker than a finger.

Fields drank dry by these, I can hardly think:
a sky black with them.

Blossoms, red, yellow, pink, follow me everywhere
fleeting unwrinkled beauty pressed into journal pages, paper letters
preserved in mold and shades of grey.

My body, blossom-beauty, is covered in hiking bruises
bronzed by the strong sun, a large and hardened welt on my hip
left by Saturday's Honduran bee sting.
The insects here, like Congolese Driver ants, leave nothing untouched;
even the mouse in my small bedroom does its work.

Body of a horse, washed out in the rain
on the rocky road west of La Venta.
It appeared almost alive the first day,
an accidental slip into an awkward position,
the terrible stench the only actor refusing to play its part.
By the second day, returning, I found its carcass merely bone,
devoured by vultures centuries ago.

At the bottom of a muddy well, maybe twenty feet down,
all I could see was bones
teeth for the strung necklace.

Corpse of a man, left by vehicle in the street,
bag of groceries coupled at his side, blood neatly pooled under head.
His face was covered by a child's tee-shirt
shielding us from dead eyes.

No, I have not forgotten your scent,
or the firmness of your youth against the curve of my own,
and though my eyes are open,
I can't say I know the way in which to walk.


"If you're legs are tired, lie back down,
and I will kiss you till your breath is found."

-Sufjan Stevens, All Delighted People


I went walking in the mountain-rocks,
picking up every bone I saw,
carrying them carefully home.

Every fencepost that I passed,
spoke its frame in sweat and hard, scraped hands,
bought with darkened, tenant skin.
Fences dividing the world into owners and occupants
(fences connecting you and me:
fences our birthright and our thievery).

I strung a necklace of teeth for you,
laid it on your collarbones
while you were sleeping in the dusk.

The adorning story sharp, and thorny,
miles of fences stretching farther than eye (or I) can see.


orphans, kingdoms

In me, in you
Orphans, kingdoms
Wide eyes and paper crowns
Time will hold us,
Time erode us,
We're wrinkling children now

We are wondering where the wild wind blows
We are happy here 'cause the wild wind knows
What we are
Orphans, kingdoms

In me, in you
Fiends, explorers
Named with coats of arms
A world inside us
A feast, a harvest
Each soul a sun, a star

Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die
We will look our maker in the eye
Raise a flag and then drink to your health
Who is he that can comfort himself?