Friday, August 01, 2008


She climbs it as if
pioneer, her hands split-
ting—-doing the most work.

Her self is like a wire. Is
body only. She empties her mind

for the presence of the
mystical, and so she might
enter the sky on a string
without angering gods.

These days’ gods roar
like airplanes. These days
gods are pettier, broadcasting
disasters like seed, across
television, greedy consumers of fear
alongside the realized deaths.

Her father beats rats
and snakes with a shovel,
farming. The snakes have too
many rats, he says, to eat—-
there are too many snakes.

Her father is loving
father to his shovel.

But her trade she learned
with snakes.

By five she could worm them
out of buckets, baskets, her
mother’s silk satchel with
a soft hum, a thumb
beat against dust. She
could not ride them into the air.

They were not dragons. They
were not the future, or a husband.

Older, she has dropped hope after
hope into holes in the ground
where animals live without rent.

Her time she gives it
all to the trick.

One day she will steal their sky
grain deftly—-these gods
will not know her. She is
diligent at her father’s table

eating without noise.

1 comment:

Sian said...

My God--how can one person write so much good stuff?

I've been mulling over a comment for this poem and deciding whether one word was worth haggling over. (Of course, I decided it was.) The word is "bash." Does one bash a snake with a shovel, or split it? Perhaps "cleave" here (esp for the lovely split meaning--to cut or to join, which seem in line with the poem)? Either way, I love the violence of this relationship. You're so good at keeping the difficulty in the relationships you write, and putting that difficulty into brutal language.

In the midst of deciding whether to even mention the bash/cleave thing, so many other kick ass poems have appeared! As usual, I stand in awe.