WHEN I WAS A SEABIRD

I had no flock, but close
confidants who knew, too, how to hold
their breath. I’d let you watch
me draw oil to catch color and keep
me slick and ready. I never
wondered how you felt as I fed
myself with kills, air dried and looked
away. I always knew when the
tide was coming in and when to
ride it out.

SEWING

I’m picking up
a dropped hem with black
thread and no thimble. Silk I
will wear to you sister’s wake.
I remember how to hide
the stiches, but feel them
brush the inside of my ankle
as I lift my feet at
the prie-dieu, and know that
this is how you’re saying
good-bye to
her contracted body.

Arrival

The best thing about you
being here, is that I can draw
a line right to you, call you
by your name. It’s that
you have a smell I know
I’ll miss, a shape. It’s that
I’m arriving, and moving
on, and arriving again. That
I’m greeting and meeting and
singing, fare thee well, on
repeat. That the only ones
paying invisible visits are
ones I already lived life with.
The best thing is that
we got here and we
keep on going. 

YEARLESS SUMMER

I’m eating breakfast—moving
eggs and herbs. But
I’m also on Eden’s gravel
paths—learning that peppery,
green smell—back
when you wore your
hair curly. I’m riding
North—one bite in
to the season’s first plum. But
somewhere else, I’m rubbing
sand off the skin, sitting
between your summer legs.

The Tie That Binds

On a Thursday, you turned
us into ropes. We wove
a seat for you—a safety
net—tied tourniquets. 
We were suspended,
open-ended, wetted
by the heat. We were
mountain-movers, like we
always said we’d be—and
you let us be. And driving home
I saw boats I’d, somehow,
never noticed, and knew
this tidal estuary
would unite you
with the sea.

AFTER THE FANFARE

There’s something
about a place made
for eating alone; where
your ticket stays open, where
you can watch a boy be
fed his first oyster by
his father, marvel
at an Irish accent like we’ve
done for a hundred
years, butter seeded
crackers, and wonder
if Jack London’s spoils
ever made it here.

Affair

I’ve never loved
you, like this,
before: split, falling
down and tapped. I’d
always wished you
harder, but I find
the way you
pucker under tender-
running fingers,
a kind of fascinating
curious lovers long for
when the world
begins to spin again.

Of the Many Mothers

Sitting under the new sun,
you arrived, your hair piled high
atop your head. You were
a backlit Nefertiti, oiled
and easy like the afternoon.
You brought me my bicycle,
and somewhere to go.

In Mexico, having navigated me
me over borders, through clothesline
alleys, you wound through shelves
of wheeled pitchers and
platters. You were the momentary
part of you that flashes when
turning corners. I was indecisive,
and you gave me a lockless
key and a blink of a smile.