To make the sound
your tongue touches
the top of your palette
leaving a little space beneath
like the still pools
in hollow places
she snipped during cut to curl
when I complained my left side
curls, my right side doesn’t.
Imagine fingerprint whorls
in hair patterns and toeprints,
our print-filled bodies complex
as Tibetan mandalas, Aboriginal dream paintings.
only a skeleton lodged in fallen leaves in the wilder verge of my land.
What brought this small animal there for final rest?
a hunter? a coyote?
or just wild seeking wild?
knows when we are in extreme
when we are overwhelmed by
when we are brought to our knees by
we don’t use words.
Our body utters guttural
howls its responses.
to shape sounds into
grab authentic and
know our words always
one remove from
-title taken from T.S. Eliot, East Coker, Four Quartets
at Coole near Connemara.
Their sudden, wheeling flight
stirs him to sadness—all had changed
since his first count of them,
years replete with personal grief
and political tumult.
Their serene beauty slumbers on the water,
their oval backs glisten ivory,
sun on their silky surface.
Walking between Waquoit Bay
and Vineyard Sound, a watery world
on both sides, my path bounded by
bayberry, beach plum, juniper, cedar,
I breathe in a bit of paradise.
of water cascades into rising oceans,
the water where wild swans sleep
no longer an invitation,
but a threat.
of color. Fewer swans yesterday
at Sage Lot Pond. Those there
no longer in repose. Their necks
strain to see what’s coming.
On our other coast, my cousin,
age ninety-seven, is dying.
A refugee from Nazi Storm Troopers,
he sees his life spiral back with televised
images of torchlit parades
that illumine faces shining
with old hatred
and hears the chant “Jews will not
Sage Lot Pond empty today,
its opaque surface undisturbed.
From nowhere, a murmuration
of dark birds explodes into the open sky,
glides on gusts, rides in waves
of panic and purpose, then settles
into a stand of juniper and cedar,
only to lift again, a massive
funnel of tree swallows that widens
into a ceaselessly moving circle
is to walk on a wish
to be free of rectangles
is to honor the architect’s desire
to be a curve
suspended in space
the seat pulled way back
in a strong arc
the moment the boy readies
then stretches his legs way out
the excitement of reaching
all the images of restraint give way
surely the Norse warriors winter-trapped
in their tribal enemies’ mead hall
feel desire’s fire
for their dragon-prowed ship
move their feet apart balance’s
stance readies for the swell
the water builds its sullen resistance
eyes narrow shoulders and legs become
the rhythm of the oars
cinq a sept
his hand on her stocking
the cat in the corner
accepts the caress
a strap falling
the teasing curve
of her bare shoulder
waiting for the pressure
along her hairline
a gown falling
the smell of satin
my bubble wrap
empty bed blues