the cars going by

the june stars are suffocating while

i lie supine in an almost dark room listening to the street refuse to sleep

 

the mountains are far from here sheltering everyone or everything that i left behind

 

And i lie so still trying to hear a whippoorwill beyond these streets

 

I raise my arms toward the ceiling and the artificial light that seems infinite spreads across my forearms in a way that makes me cry

 

If i imagine hard enough,  my skin is Carter’s Lake on a summer night spreading across the darkness to reflect the moon

 

by a sea

some are sun people gold,  skin of mamma’s pearl and coconut; they diggin up sand for a castle.

 

seaweed people washed up on a beach too, skin of fishin hooks and broken shells; they ain’t gettin no castle.

 

we are all fools of the tides, always  afraid of what time it is or what is comin for the lives we’ve made; our nude skin shivers at the things that could wash us away

 

but off in the distance, the white waves roll and never stop.

 

 

our balconies when we are still

we do what we can with our little  space, our little time

 

we grow plants in the corner of our little balconies

 

we place windchimes where we can hear them from our beds when the storms come

 

we place the birdfeeders close to the window to bring our unspace closer

 

we notice from our little balconies that the women walking by are pretty and the men are distinguished

 

we smell the bread baking,  the coffee brewing; we partake of this sacrifice of someone’s hands to feed us

 

it forms our little space,  our little  time, to notice the hands,  to drink what is offered; it grants us more

Ain’t is a word

He told me i might should get a liddle learned roun the ol edges may be learn where a few periods go between them sentences maybe let em wring the person i am dry and give all who i am to the rule makers makin the purty poetry rules but i just wanna drank my sweet tea and swang before i die or may be make a few rules of my own; maybe I will learn the proper way to write a poem that doesn’t mean a thing.

to the someone loving me in may

the birds gathered their voices again

because the rain came slamming itself against the winter trees and pushed flowers from the nest

 

 

if not for the robins flitting about my yard i would not have looked high enough to see my name forming around the mouth of the sun again this spring

 

 

it is its last day,  this month of May,  and all of the gifts she has poured onto my head these forty years roll into a crown around my temples

 

 

the green carpet has stretched out before me another spring and my feet are bare in the grass like when i was a little girl chasing grasshoppers

 

 

if i never see another human again

i will still know someone is loving  me out there in the month of May

Translations from the English

mantis1

Praying Mantis and Peony, Late May

After the peony scrolls have been read
And the leaves of the peonies are clustered

Armor, I stand for a while to hear what comes
After the words on the scrolls have washed away

After the rain on the cascading layered leaves
Stills I see one poised on one leaf then grasping

It fully stepping with little effort to its underside then
Another smaller within inches and more

On either side praying mantis and praying mantis
So rare in my childhood I saw only one and now

For the second year they are here roaming
These leaves among the scraps of longing

And the sturdy sky boats of green even
On the porch we have seen them last summer

One the size of my hand climbed
On my daughter’s head and would not come down

The cicada they say is so pure it can…

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sunday alone

The friction of the day waxes and wanes,  rubs the clouds against the sun
stretches the copperhead’s scales across the warmed stone that you came to sit on
the noon walk down the side walk takes you over a high bridge where you think briefly about cause and effect 
the bird falling,  diving from the roof only to really live
the ice cream truck driving past you,  playing a love song that gives you vertigo 

Porcelain

Not everything has fallen that you’re trying to pick up.

You are a child over the broken plate that hasn’t hit the floor just yet.

Would your fingers bleed to save the china?

To keep mother from scorning you for being clumsy?

Let it drop and shatter into a thousand pieces. 

It’s only a plate.

When birds fall from the nest

Two people stand

face to face

but neither see

 

They are looking

at the back

of their own head

 

feeling with the back

of the hand

and never the palm

 

It is not a tender world

It is not a tender place

for a heart like mine

 

 

I saw a baby Starling

the broken winged thing

and not a word to sing

 

I saw a baby human

the unbreathing thing

not a word

 

I saw myself

in somebody’s eye

but the stranger walked by

 

It is not a tender world

It is not a tender place

for a heart