She is dangling in the afternoon like Autumn
on the breeze, painting the horizon in her
favorite colors. I like to think the purples are just
for me as they frame the greens on trees
she’s allowed to stay a little longer.
October finds a way of fanning its leaves
until the hills burn with Autumn & still she traces
the sky with echoes of the sun’s brushstrokes
suspended somewhere in the atmosphere
she always knows where they land.
I put the day together like a puzzle but leave
it out of the box so the clouds can play
a major chord. Soon she’ll sing the stars
into a symphony while I taste grapes
on her lips, greens and purples linger.
The tempest brought more
than rain, sprinkling magic
on marble-topped memories
that called from a dream
still shipwrecked. The sun tries
to break the spell but hope
flourishes in the light & she enjoys
showing off her tan. Though the tide
may wash visitors ashore or pull
other spirits out of a hat, she drinks
me in wearing tails.
We sing along with the wind
as it pampers our skin, seasoned
from days in the sun. The leaves
rustle in accompaniment
as if the evening knew the rhythm
it merely borrows the tune
breath tied together on the breeze.
The sea is high again
today, with a thrilling flush
of wind that circles us
like the willows that weep
around the lines we draw
in the dirt.
her wrinkles when she smiles
to remind me the world
circles heavenly bodies
in its own time.
goes low if we wait long enough
& still the stars circle her
hair dancing on the air
so we wade deeper tomorrow.
I watch her saunter through the room
because there’s nothing on tv
& anyway the flickering light
from the sun bounces off her cheeks
like a spotlight directing my attention
to curtains before static-clung scenery.
She moves in solid waves of hope,
weaving through well-worn furniture
with the confidence of a lioness tip-toeing
through stalks of grass, though she’d never
let grass stains set on the sofa.
On sun-soaked afternoons like this I return
from a long walk — the breeze
almost too cool, reminding me
February is not of one mind
though it’s more hopeful
than some. I sit & think about the spark that hangs
like a moonbeam near her ear as the tv
dissolves to static & she closes
the curtains — her prey frozen
in the dark.
She absorbs the food
in her bowl, not chewing
but vacuuming the thing
clean. And why not? She doesn’t know
clocks — doesn’t know
there will be another meal
in 12 hours, or what 12 hours is,
or what 12 is, only that the wait
feels like an elephant
sitting on her chest & just breathing
is swallowing mud in a storm.
One twelve makes a year
two twelves a day & a dozen eggs
last a week. Clocks mark the time
but never tell the story. Mine
didn’t start with you but
hands spin us together so all that turns
are pages of our book, the clockface
breathing easy as the chapters
swallow us whole.
Her voice nibbles on my ear
like a woodwind instrument
in a register she didn’t know
existed. I find myself whistling
that tune & thinking
of sour candy, the sweet face
she interrupts with her tongue
so I laugh in the same hushed key.
I dreamt last night I was in
a ribbon-stitched competition
& though its details are lost
to the murky meanderings
of sleep, the image of her cheering
the loudest in the crowd
stayed with me
through the morning.
I’m tempted by stubborn clocks
that tick on lemon-kissed walls
to believe the world changes
in the sunlight, but no matter the hour
I hear her over the noise
calling me home.