Thursday, September 25, 2014

Drafting (Meghan)


There’s the thin quilt and the comforter folded at the end of the bed,
this t-shirt that barely strikes these sharp hip bones, too threadbare now
to wear in pictures from the days before: this pink cotton, this white neck.
Your hands are no longer new, but they don’t remember yet.
My hands are no longer new, but they have not yet grown bold.
(I say that, but they know your skin.  And once they reached beyond
and came back holding me, a tiny, beating facsimile, but she looked
familiar all the same.  I asked, and you repeated my name,
the syllables like syrup on your tongue and I could taste the sweetness.)
I wrap you in the me that breathes, stitch you there with elastic floss,
toss you like a boomerang toward tomorrow’s homing bend.
This pillowcase smells like pheromones, like words we only speak in the dark,
like decaying night into early morning still wearing evening’s dress.
You cover me, and I feel your figure swimming into cavities uncharted,
these atria, these ventricles, these arteries and veins without a name.
This could be cartography.  Folded parchment.  Landmarks etched in ink.

Wednesday Morning, Impromptu (Meghan)

Wednesday Morning, Impromptu

You and I, a lingerer’s goodbye.
It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the sun rise.
I drove alone from your town to mine
on the crowded highway’s massive bridge
over civilization still sleeping below.
Pink eased around smeary clouds just then
growing golden above the tree line, and
I thanked you silently (or probably I gasped).
I meant to tell you what my father always said:
Red sky at night, sailors delight.
Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning.
In your arms again, I forgot to say,
but I know you’d remember there was no storm,
the sky was wrong and the memory beautiful.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Miscellaneous Notes from Unwritten Chapters (Davina)

It's a little past sunset, and
you and I are chilling on your front porch,
though our grandkids say that "chilling"
isn't a thing you do anymore.
The railing flakes with rust under 
weathered green paint,
and we've decided to ignore common
sense for a while and go barefoot.
My feet, brown from your unswept porch
and all dusty in the wrinkles, are cold 
because they're not used to socklessness and
the early autumn wind anymore;
your feet are warm because your fat, fluffy 
cat is lying on them.
Inside, your daughter and my son
(whom we betrothed at birth) 
are putting their youngest child to bed,
while their teenage twins play the Xbox 360
in your living room and giggle
at old technology.
"Do you remember," you say, 
"when we first wrote poems together?"
We laugh because we can't,
and because we've never stopped, and
because growing older is definitely
something to laugh about,
as long as we're doing it together.

We haven't yet 
looked Death in the face, 
but when we do, we'll laugh again
because it's just another chasm
that our Father's built the bridge across,
and on the other side
there are probably plenty of cats
and another creaky porch railing 
for us to put our heels up on,
as we talk about the way life's rhythms
turn out a lot like poetry,
and we'll age, like wine or cheese or
maybe ageless people,
into a glorious eternity. 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Too Much (Meghan)

Too Much

You said too much,
So I said too much,
But we really meant more than before,
too much to be contained in the all-weather jacket cool
we put on in the evenings when it’s quiet enough
on our couches and between our ears to remember
what your body looked like stretched out right here
while I puttered around the kitchen, setting timers
And to wonder what I’d say about that thing that happened,
and are you there to me more often than I’d like,
but the too much means I like it, if I’m honest?
So much is simple, and very much is what I said before, but
too much is scary
because it should be scary—is—
to beach-comb for intact shells and find this one
has soft pink markings and a speckled scar
you didn’t imagine but know you’ll miss
if you fumble the play.
You said too much.
I didn’t like it.
Implied deficiency, the too of too
and I’m nervous, but really,
that’s it, isn’t it?
You worked on me like a skeleton key
while I was sleeping.
Now we’re tracing outlines of the other
in my collar bone,
the space beneath your last rib.
There—her square shoulders,
narrow waist, and wide hips,
a moving silhouette of bouncing hair—
she looks too much like me.
He climbs from the clavicle hollow
to whisper in my ear.
I hear your smile and stir because
it’s much too much
too much.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Tar (Davina)

When I was born into night's darkness,
I came with my own bucket
of tar, gleaming thickly black and
brimming full to the edges, all
for me, all my own.

The tar was smooth on my tiny fingers
and richly warm in my mouth, so
I loved it at the start, though it
dried heavy and permanently deep;
I decorated myself with layers of the stuff,
savoring the little thrill
of its slow trickling and subtle warmth
in the moments before it
sank into my skin and crusted over,
turning me into a shadow
among shadows.

The first time I saw the glow creeping
at the edges of the city
I screamed and coughed up terror
for days. I'd felt it then:
the spark's inevitability,
the readiness of the whole blackened mass
to ignite and burn itself—and me,
all painted over with death's
hot, grasping hands—into oblivion.
I huddled back into the dark,
choking on crusty sobs and hating light
with every dried-up, thirsty bone
in my body.

Rain fell every now and then
and dripped off me, clear,
inking the tar with midnight blossoms
but slipping straight across the thick shell.
Nothing could wash me.
I broke my wrists trying
to crack them open against the cement step
of an abandoned building,
felt wet blood slippery on my skin
—for a merciful second it seemed almost
to melt the tar from within—
until it dried, too, more
stinking fuel waiting to burn.

As I grew taller, I shook to realize
my everlasting night was one immense
shadow, cast by an immeasurable
and swift-advancing morning.
Already half the city's streets were lit,
stripped naked in the harsh glare
of the imminent sunrise and
its inexorable draw.

Now, perhaps, you know
the rest of the story. Perhaps you, yourself,
have seen exactly how much blood
it takes to dissolve tar,
and can tell me how he silently took
the bucket from your heavy hands
on his way to the city square.
Perhaps you will always remember
the blazing cobblestones and
the shape of his blackened silhouette
as he met the fire:

knees bowed low and face set forward,
while the flames leaped into the sky,
licking up every trace
of tar it found, and leaving you
untouched, trembling,