A blue grey eye, a kind of transparency,
a pupil of moldavite,
another heir of heaven and earth.
His gaze pools with hope,
sempiternal as the spell of a star-flocked sky.
A hard nut to crack: what I felt when I flew by.
Throat of a creek soaking moss, sipping
rivulets from a tin cup
tasting faintly of aluminum--
Remember we dyed my brother’s
with mud from the riverbank
to turn them brown,
to trick the other girls
and he listened to all of their secrets,
ever after, we later saw, appalled--
Tonight rainwater brims on palm fronds
the slow drops glistening
in circles, as if for the first time.
I heard they skinned his mother.
In the cottage by the river,
framed by squares of glass
smoky from pipes and candles
and the memory of fire,
the skin of her breast was pelted.
She’d worn an apron with square
and he a vest with brown buttons
and I can’t be sure but I think they were content.
Her silken fur’s a hearthrug.
I watched him rage in the quiet room
with nothing left to break,
then stand at the stove til nightfall,
his haunches heaving,
his heart seething,
his tears disposed to the pot
with his mother’s bones.
What I felt when I flew by--
his blue grey eye, the moldavite
pupil wet, plagued by history,
misery’s hunger, a hard nut
I too, have lost multitudes
in toto, I, too, suspire--
each day, an experiment in immortality,
a seizure of reckoning or
conviction, yearning’s whisper--
In mourning the creek
would not keep his heart’s torrents
and the current bore down,
ran away from him--
its dry wake, scarred mud
depressions, a snaking route he followed.
So long in the clouds I’ve
and somehow lost all bearings,
the sloping oak, white impatiens at its roots--
Now rainwater pounds palm fronds,
fast drops leak in all the flasks he’s placed,
spilling rims of glasses.
When through the peephole I finally
my gaze pooling,
he simply looks up,
as if my arrival were expected,
as if it’s good I’m on time this time,
as if he knows I’m an erstwhile soul--
We push a wide mop with wet loops
like a woman’s wet hair
on tiles our feet shine in duplicate,
and our shadows turn up the corners
of this room, like stagehands hoisting
a velvet curtain, peel them away --
the beam kindling our embrace
is akin to what I felt when first I flew by,
all wings and hair and hide
bid to abide--ours is a marriage
in the cruel and beautiful future
that is heaven, that is earth.