"The Losses"


are real. They catch
like plastic bags
in suburban limbs.

(Symbols—though they are—
these words are not.)

The poem
tempts me, turns over
a twenty-gallon bucket,
takes a seat.

Quiver in the dirt,
girl with hazel eyes.
The wound that divides you
made you.

My sister bundles
three real babies,
tended like a turkey in the oven (put into service)
skin crisping,
flesh glistening.

(If one were left behind…)

Her sister wants, no, say it,
I want the earthbound,
the Oedipal scrape.
Clamor: tremors in the cellar.

(No longer about newness.)

I believe in the primal ache
with no name
that precedes the body and the mind.

(Mind showing films from yesteryear.)

I dream two men in grey
who approach my house in
synchronized stride.
I see them from the window for what they are.
I make tea. I procrastinate.

(A thin envelope
always contains
a single sentence.)

Each day grabbing at air
made of molecules of fire.
I fill sandbags,
hold them back.

(Words circle like bats,
losing their way, soundlessly.)

I watch the cat lady
go gray over eight years
feeding strays in the shanty
more formidable
than parish houses.

(This is no longer—or only
–about survival.)

I am a one-woman militia
refusing city services,
libertarian, stacking chickpeas
in the basement bunker,
left the TV on the curb
unplugged, de-linked.

(Tired of fighting
wings at the door
but cannot do without.)

The poem
does not wave its wand.
The poem
does not bring news.

(No story of puppet strings.)

The poem lets bare feet engorge
with rusty nails
and does not seek an antiseptic,
the sober expulsion.

I may not withstand this.
You’ll find my body on the flagpole.

The Losses

poetryBarzakh Mag