10 September 2005

a sestina

the morning heaves its ripened fruits into my lap.
a drumtight pomegranate seed snaps may open.
an early sun rises heavy like a fever.
light breathes into us with its familiar rhythm.
we lift burnt orange pottery bowls to our lips to drink.
black coffee steam washes our faces with angel wings.

so we are warmed, and we smile, lifted by such wings.
yet something softens in your spine, and into my lap
your head falls heavy, unsustained. you spill your drink.
my nightgown soaks the coffee brown; burnt orange smashes open.
the grains are fine and still against gray cement. light's rhythm
now softens its pulse as my knuckles melt your fever.

you are the morning and the fruits with your fever
and your falling head, with your spine like eagle wings
curved to soar against the wind's ungainly rhythm,
your head snaps like a pomegranate seed, its light laps
brightly against the shore of my knees -- open.
i pour your fever into my pottery bowl and take another drink.

the steam still rises from the cup and i am still drinking
in the warmth of the morning's fever
when you stir against my sharp elbows. they are opened
wide to lift the heavy bowl of morning; its steaming wings
still wash me with light and the gritty bowl's liquid still laps
up at my mouth with a weak tide's unbent rhythm.

there is still this new season pounding upon us with the rhythmic
spell of jazz, of africa -- of a heat which no drink
could ever cool. this coffee steams hot and in my lap
rests you -- the fruit, this bright morning, this fever,
and this season. your coarse dark hair swings
gently from your head as you close what before had opened.

now you rise and you fill your openings
up with cement; you steal back your breath's rhythm;
you steal back your wings;
you steal back your warmth; you drink
back your fever.
no longer is there a bright morning when i look down at my lap.

the season's wings beat back a lonely rhythm as you drink
from the stolen cup's fever.
you leave me an open space, emptying the day from my lap.


i shed you. came out
from the molting
shining and new.

i wanted and needed
so badly to lose your
weight and shake of light,
the heavy nervousness
that had become my life.

i was well for awhile,
but then i fell apart --
all fire moving forward,
then bam, the lights went out.

something in me snapped
completely clean, abandoned reason,
and took showers in the dark,
much the worse for wear.

we were no good together,
were we? we were too
much the same, we were.
we were, weren't we?

we never quite fit together --
almost, but the space was so
small air whistled thin between
the pieces of us, chipped bone
aching dull and constant --
piercing sharp at the memory of rain.

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