You pounce my lungs as I lay waking and make your point
with an extended paw: Your toenails graze my cheek.
I place my hand on your tiny skull. It feels wired, jacked in
to the wall behind me. You act as if I’ve nested
hummingbird eggs -- navy beans, white pupils -- in my eyes
for the hibernation of late summer, now that the eclipse
is captured, the day grows steadily less, and grief steals inside of me.
Lyrica, oh Pfizer, takes the corners of this REM-sleep sheet,
shaking it out until it billows and sails toward sky and space,
to who-knows-where --
someone knows --
settling onto the white noise of the night,
and ultimately disappearing into the dark light,
the shades and shadows of which I’ll never see.
rode my bike to the pharmacy, got my antiseizure drug, browsed the bookstore for Dying: A Memoir, drank sweet frozen coffee, rode home with the wind in my helmeted hair, kissed the dog, and ate little tofu squares, peas, and rice, more diorama than dinner, an acrylamide brick village, its sticky white walkways dotted haphazardly with blips of
Stroke the downy hairs of my throat until the bird rises up and I can push it out of my mouth. The wet matted thing dries by the will of the sun. I watch it hop on its remaining foot, like longing, like hope, like desire held by its wings.
In the story of my decline, fine metal mesh, the shape of moth wings, seals my
In the story of my decline, duct tape binds these still-buoyed breasts until they’re broken, boarded, and blessed.
In the story of my decline, an oily shop rag finds a dry space between my anus and urinary meatus, laying the desert at my feet.
In the story of my decline, my navel retreats like an eclipse to somewhere behind the moon, leaving a smooth, sagging belly for only me to marvel at.
morning lines #127
cacophony of crows not phoning it in,
they’re murdering or marauding,
from a comfortable distance,
wire hanger wingspans,
with nothing to wear
morning lines #126
black-backed and stunning, murky motor oil or grounded plum,
amid the charcoal-dead hush of tree after dead and dying snag,
set ablaze by whatever means,
pecking, drumming, tattooing, at bark, existing borehole,
and my dead and dying eyes so that I might see, woodpecker
morning lines #125
Animals and insects, spirit messengers of later adulthood, and none more than the honeybee. Avoid getting stung at all costs says the kid in me. But now: Eat its honey, watch its brethren buzz-bomb at the precipice of extinction, and you takes your chances. An affable arthropod, it’s the singular species of bee to sting at its peril. With a nonretractable stinger, it leaves behind needle-sharp dagger, abdomen, and digestive tract, along with stray bits of muscle and nerve. Avoid at all costs causing this kind of ruination in another creature says the aging adult in me.
morning lines #124
it’s never too late for naming the western trees,
never too wrong for a slip and slap in the weeds,
never too late for height and wisdom and wonder,
never too wrong for besting or beetles or blunder,
never too late for lesson-learning the knave,
and never too wrong for love, a sigh, and a wave
morning lines #123
there’s a chair in the corner of this lair, gathering in layers the light of all the gunmetal gray mornings until it’s grayed out and begins to stink, no, sink, in the mire of tomorrow, yesterday, and all the days cum grano salis
morning lines #122
The birds have nothing to say today,
here in the dawn’s half-yawn,
a raspy near-light,
that fingers throat feathers
across the lawns and up into the
maples, maidenhairs, oaks, sycamores, and more,
and yet not a peep or shriek,
just the silence of trees holding tight to their leaves.
How can it be the birds have nothing to say today?
morning lines #121
hiking up the steep slope of a narrow trail,
the weather perfect as the summer day is long,
leaping over lupine, foxtail, and timothy,
the sun shining, a bright chill—the rarest comfort to a body in motion;
in the distance, San Francisco and Marin, a simultaneous shoulder shrug,
to the layers-thick blanket of fog still weighing them down;
a foggy color no one has ever seen before—bruised, disagreeable gray
morning lines #120
Before me sits the wide white box of anxious construction, a box made of wind-whipped desert sand, fluttering moths, eggshells smashed under foot, broken bird bones, and clouds bereft of air and water.
It’s easy to pretend the box isn’t there because it blends nicely into the wall. It’s easy to pretend the box is the representation of all that’s calm and clean and bright—the incandescent angel in our midst.
I find the edges at the top of the box, unfolding its whisper-white flaps, allowing all the white-hot days of my life to emerge, shyly at first, but then with a blinding force that destroys everything outside the box while pulling me safely within. I mix among the chalky remains of shell, sand, and bone.
Eventually, I find my way outside the box, where it’s easy to pretend the box isn’t there because it blends nicely into the wall.