When rubies are pressed into my laughing mouth and sapphires sutured to my startled eyes, I will remember how you never once slipped past the king to kiss my gauzy thighs. And when those huge stones roll into place, my arms crossed over my bronze breasts, the last word to race the curving jewel of my brain will be your name. And when I'm found ten thousand years from now waving a golden ankh in my right hand, my lips parted on the fetid air-- they'll see your name a perfect shape upon my lips and know I loved.
The Dead Frog
Grandmother lay dying in our sunny house; I went outside and walked up the hill. The pebbles under my feet were warm at three o'clock. I stooped over and picked up a dusty skeleton with bones insignificant as paper- my first dead thing. I carried it back to the house to find a shoebox. The stiff shape was hopeful. It had died in mid-leap like a jumper off a bridge-- above the incontestable river.
The Moon is Heaven's Cold House
The moon is heaven's cold house. No one gets inside who can't pretend. The rings I wear have colored stones in them. Amethysts ward off drunkenness. Pearls clasp my throat with wisdom; diamonds wed my pawned heart. A woman held my hand and looked into the pink future of my palm. Tarot's bright circus warned me: death and luck and a lady. I didn't want to die like that, another white skeleton with black bones.
Visiting The Egyptian Museum
I'm in love with a dead man in a glass box. His lips are sewn up his cheeks collapsed, his eyes shut. Every day I visit I speak into the small, dark apricots of his ears. He's heard it all. His words are flowers in a ragged field I walk through. He fills in the spaces. He lets me have my say. I wait for the sun to drag its covers over the rim of the world. The blue hand of the sky empties itself of wings.
I won't rise again from this old couch worn and comfortable and safe. My legs aren't broken but my wings are gone. Walking upright, I mumbled through the gray housework, by all appearances whole as I've ever been. I am not starving in some moonscaped country; not cold under a bridge in the oily night. Bright and alive in pressed cotton-- my eyes are clear, my mind sound. The clock has stopped but I won't rise to wind it again. The book I was reading has fallen from my hand-- what more must I learn? You're gone. I watch the ceiling fan-- its predictable revolutions all I'm counting on.