The Stroke and After Words
The innumerable cause of the just begun
And the body's willing hemispheres
There was no prophesying this.
Even in hindsight I am blind
to waiting associations, troubled
as they are. Shy to relinquish themselves to me—
The day before the stroke, the new moon arrived
on her back, a trivial splinter, a small sky wound
not to be worried. I unpacked boxes
of research books, sojourns into divination,
Muench's geography of gypsum. (If the snapdragons
weren't talking, neither was the tuberose, so I was left
unaware. A lurch in the loam of ignorance.
In the loam, I tell you.)
Pay attention. Because I've been limping
beyond cause, cousin to resistance, I've learned
will is the body's own clamorous spectacle.
And nothing deters the inward stare—
or our bare reduction to hemispheres—a brain
no different than any other starving thing, saying
of blood, I am still reaching for it, though
it has already arrived.
Sappho's Last Dream
Give me children whose hair folds into night.
Give me nights with girl laughter, the whorl of fine fingertips in air.
Give me laughter sharp as lemon.
Give me lemon and leave me on the road.
Give me language I will not sing.
Give me song that slays the bird.
No, do not give me song. Sad sparrow.
I cannot learn that wing.
I cannot love the wind.
I cannot bear the sight—
my body taking leave of earth, and night
willingly folding into another woman's hair.