She is the battle front, the sharp eye,
and the quick hand.
She is the strategist and the disturber,
the clean gavel, and the dirty worker
just a peace we might never see
a peace chasing tides in wake and rolling foam
Instead, to shake the earth
and find us under fine cover
in salt water to rich doors
cracking fine tile
and expensive leather
this is your general
the first order of the 21st front
Pale cobalt and cracking until the skin of your lips met your jaw
unable to reach an agreement, your mouth clambered for hours in the cold
a language spoken by the wind when the sun has left the day
wishing you’d never caught her eye from the ferry deck
the railings a cotton bed
and you’ve always preferred the floor
breathing softer and hoping to be ignored by the lighthouses that lie
far away as some other
The distance of the isles to you, the ribs on your coast
and you ask not for the first time why your ribs can’t be posts that spine a torrent
the back that breaks a boat
and the wind leans in close
No, it says,
its a marker for a shallow shoreline
swim past the ribs and grab a rock
see I hope
you kept your shoes because they’ll shred your feet sooner than the tide will sell them short
and the navy of the water
won’t love that pretty mouth when its lost that bluish color so I suggest you make a fire
and start praying to a warmer god.
The breath that swept the lake fell on the shore with grace
and I had watched with defiance in the fall, the branch that let go in August.
I am not myself, and they have shouted that before, a hundred times
because you look away, you slip away and the next thing you know
you’ve been sleeping for years.
I can’t remember the last time I loved the ground I walked
the gloves I wore
the hands I held
but I’m shouting
I’m still in love, I’m still in love
And I am.
Rising with the sun, I am watching the ground
trying to measure the oxygen in my mouth,
tasting the branches that have run through the heart of the forest and found a home
your sparrow’s nest, your tangled hair
through the heart of the forest
found a home
We used to be something.
I could’ve told you to the second from the shadow of a pine when the rain would come down
and in the winter, the light of the sun used to spill a red hail of ochre
she heard our conversations, and wanted to remind us that color hadn’t died with the shrub grass and cotton moths.
Wild flowers clung dried and buried in coyote fur. She sent those too.
We used to hear the whispers of Everest, a god in her own right, on tired winds
whose backs had been broken by the beat of a hummingbird wing
and the salt of several oceans.
I won’t lie to you, we weren’t that kind of something. But my god.
We were at least something.