The Hermit (IX)
All mothers eat their children. All children drink their mothers.
My mother is grass growing from the underside of a rock,
hair tucked away from her face except for one strand,
constantly falling when she talks about hiring a new babysitter.
Her body no longer holds the many possibilities ahead
before the children.
One day, I had come home from school knowing there
was a sickness in my gut. When the doctor asked me where
it hurt, I pointed. Bury it in the soil, he instructed—there was no
chance unknowing. Dying children are only getting lonelier.
No one likes children but that doesn’t mean you don’t
Something’s coming out of my ears—ink or shadow?
I can’t make it stop. A little blue bird is fluttering around inside
my brain, plucking out memories until my post-nasal drip
is white noise.
In Sunday school, love was taught like blueberries
baking in crust: let simmer & don’t eat it all at once.
I always ate too much until my plate emptied. I don’t want
to go, but I am alone in this feeling. Left to carry it gracefully
until I’m alive in someone else’s memory.
i The Hermit Is the Threshold Guardian
The Hermit Reveals Monsters Between Slants of Sun
For forty days, he lives in exile.
Sleeps in a sealed cave, staves off
the forest’s beasts—descendants of
Dionysus. He smells peach blossoms
from inside rock. Carves devotions
into his thighs. Nobody knows how
he came to be: chanting
Otis Redding, all prayers
turn Google inside body, clutches
old dog bones instead of eating:
anything to be empty. After forty
days, lives in a house with no furniture.
His neighbor a woman, red pen
circling mistakes—shedding skin
June-fast in white linen, lizardly
blues humming in grass.
Peggy in twilight dances a lighthouse
inside, a ghostly snake
/// eggs hatch ///
a medusa with a million mouths
regurgitates slugs & raspberries
in jam, jamming TVs to sleep—
Lucifer’s limbo half-cut by a hot
knife. He prances in jags, screams
pens screams I love you screams
paddle—buys a weekend pass to visit
good-time Jesus. Medusa’s mouths
suspended in amber: triangular
negative space, aka the human brain.
String-lights bubble up stairs
as he walks—pillbugs scatter
& the lighthouse flutters orange.
Two of my poems are up on Lyre Lyre:
Year of the Dragon
Some of the women in town
thought she ought to be punished.
Her belly grew to a hearse.
Not even in these muddy waters
do seagulls bathe—slow to ice.
She prayed for a sailboat
to carry her uterus on a milk sea.
Dragonflies swarmed her flamingo-pink
plumage. She watched boys
shred guitars. May the distortion
mince her voices, all women
inside her. A doctor suggested
lime in tea—an exorcise. May she
shoot wind to hear grass buzz, to know
which she is sprouting inside her.
When We Were Born
A hole in space ran naked,
like deer across stretches of road
stopping only for high-beams
shining wild down trails,
skinny as hands through hair
—two figures watched boats
roll over water in gleaming
burns, shy and slow as words
as two snakes: one eating
the mind, the other eating
flesh of the infinite, some hole
in space that we now name;
once we were children who
watched sunlight drape
under mountains so old
their lungs collapse
there is a light swaying
like a chandelier;
it passes houses along roads—
and these two—they are talking
all night, meandering into
starsparks, watching skulls
become clear—whirr & hum.