There They Are
my mother, my father. Her skinny
blue wrists, his ear caressing a cigarette. In the beginning,
it is already too late, but there is hunger & no time
to waste. All they need are six hands, three mouths, a clockwork
yearning for locks of their own, windows square & fresh. In the beginning,
my cry breaks my father, who flushes red at my fall, opens my face in search
of his mother. Grasses, grasses on a country
road, hawthorn up to their waists,
aflame. The crying of no mothers. Temple bells hung
by the wind. An October without moons,
a feeling I’ve been here before. Dew on the page.
Windows billowing wax paper.
Fall’s charred eyelids. Toes pressing down my own wet
imprint. Begin the world without a bang.
Water, air, the Earth split into an egg,
elements halved for light. No mothers, just two figures on a bicycle
for one. A sweaty country road. Stoves that won’t start,
boxes of damp matchsticks. Strain of a blue wrist
untucking cigarettes from his lips
prayer of hands inside the ashes of mothers,
single finger curving to a hush. Careful,
hold the glass up to one eye, split the nucleus
with the other, explosions muted by winged lungs.
Put down my pen. Unfold my eyes. Count backwards
before legs, before longing, until I hit a snag in the web,
open, to find my palm full of tears.
Once, there were no mothers. Trace the outline,
one, two, build a family from hunger. Listen, a cry, mine,
dragging her mother’s last breath up the jagged washboard as he soaps
my throat clean, baptizing his mother’s blackened lungs.
My mouth opens to wake their beginning & just like that
blesses our downfall.
There, stretch the canvas, spread oil thin-thin
into our crevasses, what’s that in the distance? No mother,
not the moon, just six hands bent over a clock face with no opening,
porcelain spoons raised to another’s lips, tap – tap we widen
our insides until ink forks our edges. In the beginning,
an October without night. Windows torn
open with flashlights. Hawthorn dawning a mother’s last breath.
Let me begin again,