'leaves' in reverse

just as you bend for me – i refuse you; cervix closed and low

just as I bend for you my love – backwards on your used, used...[climax]

like a Muslim bending down – you scratch at traditional molds

wind bending its devoted bough – breathing death wasps into velvet bedroom skies

blowing my blood smooth and cold – melting coolness past the rough

wind bending the bough – exhaling dirge

wind shaking the leaves – vibrating each lash

pink streaking the hill – pillow parts winding a willow path

each blank thing begun – clean sheets as erasure

known how to open it – envelope folds tight at the corners

on my soul had I – in my maze inside

have been water – wetness was once

of a work that might – the only job that could

were the author – be a creator

sitting opposite me – parks at the foot of the bed

whether the person – no matter the other

I not know – identity not withstanding

did I know or did – was it sketched or etched

to cover me – under safe weight on exposed skin

for me and made – personalized and sent

filled with bugs made - living crawling sewn in each thread

a nightlike color – if midnight was orange

hidden in it – the stars would hide

men standing in it – men in quicksand

exuded by the three – abundant times redundancy

a green place – a lush reprieve

I saw skulls and then brains – seeking bones and inside

 

- after “leaves” by ariana reines (p.132 in mercury)

a family story

there’s the time angela’s

body was seen as a ghost;

the living breathing toddler in one room,

quite another haunting

top of grandma’s stairs.

 

there’s the shillelagh,

having fallen in such a way

to defy

childish notions of physical understanding,

parroting for decades your uncle’s tricks

by remembering plastic pink flashlight to mandible nightcries,

and your aunt’s kitchen faucet

sink upstairs

refusing all repair.

 

visiting the great-aunt’s convent once,

more holy water to temple touches;

knees pink with navy synthetic embossing,

burgundy leather beneath ties to ritual creaking;

the prayers and the scent 

of processed body

of christ

the grape juice will transform if you pray for it strongly

and mean it more than you wished evil into playground pagan crossings.

 

the christmas tree stays up too long now that grandma’s dead

the plush carpeting under the ornate rug

hides the secret fake snow threads

you’ve pushed under

in gazing out south shore

hexagonal windows

blocked by hopes of more magic

in july

paisley upholstered chairs never felt more livable

than when you're returned

to mom's city apartment late sunday nights

 

the ashtray with the metal button on the marble

lazy susan, kitchen table, near large window, grandpa's here;

this seems like the most simple way to keep down complaints,

push it down to the bottom, emptied later in the trash bin

please let this be the ritual to keep everyone

soft and transparent alive.

you've nearly lost.

smallish super smooth like first times slips of white pristine paper

slid into noisy technicolor chrome alluring slots,

the only remnants of the monetary shock...

ursula

putting on lipstick redder

than the sunburnt flesh

of those above her,

shading in cold

eyelids darker purple

than sea organs slated

to be ingested

up there too

 

readying herself

amongst the kelp,

slithering her bouncy

breasts on seabed

floor

in crawling her resolute sense

of contractual abuse

nearer to her naive victim

princess in pursuit

 

she remembers suddenly:

her medicine for ADHD

is ready at the pharmacy,

and she needs sensitivity toothpaste too—

 

she’ll pick some up on her way

across atlantic avenue

before they close at 6;

then better equipped

with concentration

and mint scrubbed tongue and gums,

her evil can continue—

flippers traded in for

mute mouthed runs

the caravel hotel

found amongst the macau mirrors, within the mass produced black lacquer box,

teacups, saucers, lids and pots strategically placed, a pink paper slips,

 

printed less daintily than ornate pastel patterning, a warning emits:

crush the pills beneath the pillow, swallow whole the peanut brittle, grow a meter

 

but then drown in bathtub ink. black tongues lapping at oxygen, an inch left, seizing 

each millisecond, for a sip of steaming air—she wakes up panting, thirsting,

 

thoughts are breaking, lapping, looping, and she feels the patterns printed in her skin.

she can feel the pads across embossing, the veins of still whole craft palpating.

 

you know the contours of the cruising, the dimensions of the chips and flakes.

you wake, bodies heavy in an ancient state.