There are 33 bobby pins
placed strategically in my hair.
You cannot see, but,
my toe, the right one, is planted firmly,
but not too firm as to show my effort,
on a curling blue X, meant to mark,
without even the slightest misstep,
exactly what a woman like me,
standing in the long history of women, drinking
the pen of love, is meant to be —
can you see the ripe horizon
through this open window?
I wonder, feet planted,
lips taught with powder, curled ringlets
itching the rouge of my cheeks
how long I will stand here while they stare
so long at my white eyes.
They focus lovingly on the detail
captured by Johannes’ golden hand,
perhaps until they realize
that I cannot read.
This morning I woke up still-drunk
Booze-drowned and down,
I browned eggs,
white-iron and yolky.
When an egg is fresh,
picked ripe from the viney booth
of the coop,
it will sit like glue, yolk globed
in one place.
When they are old,
found way back in the box, an egg
white might run, slide
loosely on the side.
The fridge smells
of milk-wine and vinegar.
In my repose, achey and gloomy,
I brown my bad eggs
with a glossy impression
of yesterday’s evening;
I gobbled them wretchedly.
Lit, I spread my arms and swallow the sky
and when they come to find me composedly
sleeping, they find only dusty remains
of kaleidoscopic stars, gossamer greens
red and blue; Indeed I shone too brightly.
Sizzled and fallen, the crowd marched home.
Exit, alternatively, a toy of light
reeled upstream, snagging on nothing.
Glimpsed once and imagined for a lifetime.
An Ode to Tattoos
I like the way you have doctored your body.
I like the way, when I read the slow curve of your hips,
I can also read the script in your head.
In swirling black letters, it reads: Swing Through Life!
I don’t know what it means, but I’ll swing through you,
if you know what I mean.
On the top of your thigh you’ve drawn a portrait of your dog,
the one who is dead now. He will be there to pet
I like your thighs, even that one.
On your left wrist, it is written: Infinity.
Or, rather, there is a symbol I have come to learn
means infinity. And it is written right there
on the thin of your wrist!
When I look at your figure, naked,
it is preferred, I wonder
what kind of seeds you must bury, deep
under the thick of your skin
to get bouquets like that.
As long as you stay
dancing about the house
still sleepy in your negligee,
sipping sweetly on espresso
to bring yourself to life,
“I want to wake myself
up with you,”
I will bring you there
languid arms stretch toward
the sky, light peering
coyly through the blinds, leaving
softly, a kiss:
There is more morning to be tasted,
for the rain of the day
to spread honeyed life
across the earthy bottoms
of your bare feet
Since I met you, let you climb aboard
the wagon to where I am going,
I have succumbed to illness.
I haven’t bothered to research dysentery,
nor have I the banknote to session
with a medic to diagnose my maladies.
I offered to locals my oxen,
dropped forty pounds from my load,
and sister Hester died of snakebite
hundreds of miles back
(you buried her and all your sympathy
in all the dry, dust earth)
in a town that would not bargain
wagon tongue for wagon wheel
with this poor carpenter;
We live on meager rations.
If we run out of bullets,
I hope, from our wagon deck,
we might watch the cattle, the swift geese,
the cajoling bunnies, and slowly sit,
scorning the road ahead.
We tried to ford the river, float
like beavers across the Mississippi,
but it seems we’ve been plagued,
all our oxen drowned.
Yellow-eyed and thirsty, we are stranded.
Still, I feel surely, I will live a life
of feverish joy with you.