The honeyed evening light flows into the room,
pools in my eyes as I search for you.
The waves deposit little shells on my skin –
secrets of deep places and maps of long distance.
Cave hums with life when I unearth knotted roots
like patterns of veins on leaves flushed with light.
Quartz leaves on the pages watermarks of grey,
the way voyages through dunes leave invisible trails.
I am the goddess of desert, my skin is foliage of browns,
a landscape scarred and cracked with thirst.
Bring me marigold,
the flower a bee won’t visit,
that’s where I will leave my heart.
Bones eaten by teeming termites
crumble to ash that blows over mustard field,
yellow blossoms with pockmarks of grey.
Water fills my lungs
scoops grey phlegm of sadness
that has hardened into a tablet of story;
it floats like wax on the surface of sea.
Tell me, will you dish it out,
have the script rewritten?
I could jump off a cliff
I hold the fluttering heart in my hands
I hold you as the birds fly over
this is not in my lifetime
With the heart in my hands fluttering
I tow you to the other side of the river
when this is not the lifetime for you
I return on a raft torn by the winds
You watch from the other side of the river
the birds that I hold fly over
the raft torn by gusts of wind
I jump off the cliff.
Now that the mat has been spread
where dyed grass holds colors of our lives,
let us choose the words to weave over
our conjugal mattress. The hard edges poke
where you trace the o and the b,
pressing of lips leaves open a gash
that holds pain in the centre.
I see the moon draw dreams in the clouds
a fleck of white dust on the breast of blue
the pollen of flowers blown by a howling wind
my vision blurred as I stare at my bed
gone cold, uncrumpled
the sky unwrinkled by desire
lips like frozen grapes crumbling, tasteless.
The snake flops on the branch,
tension spreads under woody toughness.
Breeze on the hair get fossilized
in the memory of the tree,
so is the snake I prod with a stick,
it had been lifeless from the time
you dropped me in formaldehyde solution.
Artwork by Bronwyn Russell-Collins
A furrow runs all the way across the bruise,
the pool of pain trembles like the heart of a sparrow.
Can a salve soothe the soreness where your lips dug
burrows in my skin, drawing lines with minerals
found on the hill we climbed sick with love?
Ash blows over the field blinding the eyes of flowers,
paper kite on the tree makes a noise of deep breathing;
a gasp in the throat where stabs of your words leave marks –
only blunt but they create a hollow where the wood of desire
Poem A Day, NaPoWriMo 2013
Take a stroke,
the single stalk as his finger rubs my neck;
then the word
that escapes like life-giving breath
eons of silence;
the fold of his skin
take that next;
the warmth under his shirt;
the grayness of his eyes
that strays away from me.
I prune away sadness
and place them
in a cool jar of water.
When you step in the car, you drag along the blue sky so large that I shrink to accommodate you: I draw my thighs close to me, rest the crook of my neck on the knotted muscles of your throat where the smell of pine wood and evening sun stay.
When sadness descends like petrol fumes and burn the tissues in the hollow
of my eyes, that is when I tell you to open the window and let the cool breeze from hills staunch the ooze of memory.
The head light of the car pools in my eyes, stars purple like burnt skin sear
my tongue where the taste of your tobacco locks me in an emptiness that burns
like an ulcer that will not heal.
Poem a day, NaPoWriMo 2013
These words that collect like seeds
and crawl on paper,
what are they, you asked.
A girdle of light slid into you
as you gathered the grains,
the slits of gold .
When your fingers paused between
ears of corn, cells in my body
sighed from the bamboo thicket
where shadows deepened
with your silence.
Write a poem a day, NaPoWriMo 2013
“Stalks of Bamboo by a Rock” (1347) by Wu Zhen