Anaphora: a method to begin

The span of a decade,
sequence of deep sleep

spaces you have never lived
pave their hollows into the brain

set off an equation
some other linguistic entity,

some field that shook its
stalks against a white porch light
in a storm

but that was not you there
somebody else

that is some other child now
at this very moment

who vanishes into a city
with memory of blues records

“Sally preferred the company of herself”
A window grey as a dream

or its many variants,
you observe the knots of wood
across an endless floor

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“Make for Me a Sign”

If a name is a sign,
scrawled by the universe
at the end of a message,

seven letters
and nothing more,
sent by the universe

in the end of a note —
when you stopped searching,
when you quit looking

for a word which
meant something more
than what was said,

enunciated in your
closed mouth the way
miracles were foretold or

how the pious prayed
for evidence of a future
deed, an image blazed

onto a veil
as premonition,
a handmaid beheld —

If a name is a sign
of calamity kept secret,
of other destinies which

recede like stars’ light
into the past

 

For We Write Poem’s Prompt #98, Signs


The Tree Climber

We Write Poems’ Prompt this week encouraged us to think about trees…

The Tree Climber

Falling from a tree —
That’s a memory I lack,
though I wish I had a scar,
almost imperceptible, hidden
on my shin or across my clavicle
like the indent of a seashell
sleeping under the bone —

It would have been an oak,
the strongest, tallest one,
at the mouth of a wood.
A sentinel, centuries, millenia-old.
An attempt at a house
cradled in the upper branches,
(a summer day’s effort
usurped by birds, rain, years)

and messages scratched onto its base:
hieroglyphs copied from textbooks,
a poem once timeless.
My favorite limb wide enough
to stand on, fifteen feet high,
enough for one to be invisible
under thick spring leaves,
enough to be not anybody, not me,
(more like that fifth-grade teacher
who told us, long ago, how she
used to be a tomboy
that recklessly climbed trees)

like her I’d be invincible
against the armies wanting
to infiltrate, aimed stones
at their armored heads,
waited for the last light to drop until,
at every afternoon’s end, they vanished
and I could finally be alone.

The fall was like any other:
a branch broken under the weight
of its age, a misplaced foot —
the ground rising up fifteen feet
to meet my stunned face, my shin,
my clavicle all in one burst of gravity,
and no one there to break that
quick tumble or dust the dirt
off my elbows.

And now I would tug at the scar
sleeping under bared skin,
and say to the one lying
next to me in the morning sun
(because he would ask,
because he would trace it with a finger)
how I once fell from an oak
on an autumn day,
when I was just a girl
who climbed trees.