He had glasses made of sapphires,
the biggest lenses I'd ever seen,
with thick wired frames painted silver.
When he spoke his mouth
dripped diamonds, which may as well
have been newborn stars—
I wanted to pick them up,
but they burned too bright for me
to see, even paper-blindfolded
I think somehow he must have learned
to close his eyes and glimpse
the universe: nebulous,
the sun at the center of everything.
Last I saw of him,
he hung upside down from
a spinning swing; I didn't watch
as he eclipsed, a planet
orbiting out of sight.
She wrote like a thief,
like she'd crept into all the rooms
I never thought to lock, and carelessly
hauled away my thoughts, those
sleeping cocoons of dry silk
still waiting to break open.
I drew in a sharp breath
to read them for the first time—
made their wings blur and
tremble with my shaky laughter
half-delighted and half-terrified,
hands aching to take back what
must have been mine
(they must have been mine!)
but motionless, freezing instead into
the crinkling chrysalis of an addict.
A good thing, that I never emerged.
She took the words with her
when she disappeared
at midnight, when the moon
was full of borrowed ink and
the moths beside the lamp
I lay down at the canyon's edge,
whispering over the empty space,
and it was your voice
that called back,
pressing the sounds into solidity,
folding them into crusty salts and
crystals of river-carved song.
You led me, barefoot,
to creekbanks full of clay, where
we stretched out
maps of our arteries again and
again, until blood finally
flowed through to wake
the dreaming earth.
And though we itched sometimes
for wings that could lift us
through the night sky,
when years had gone by we settled
ourselves to trace the stars drifting across
the baubled water—to lean back
on hands resting, steady, firmly
rooted beside each other
in sun-warmed stone.
It is, I think, how