We drank behind the barn
which came with its own sky.
We drank until elegies bore
You turned your eyes into the
or maybe it was milkweed.
A variable tumescent held the gate open to a plasticized universe without petticoats.
Anger parched reflections upon cigar box. Named after gunpowder. My horse-
tongue ruby. O, my horse-tongue.
A small green patch in the gravel where our lady of moss now gives
brodieas an auric scar. O, forgive us. We don’t mourn the loss of water deep enough
to be medicinal—
The seer hides in steeplebush, casts us into sparrow stasis. Until we are banished by
yarrow’s yellow umbel. We wanted
to go back to the dominion of angels.
We each mapped etiquette’s extremes,
then went forward uncensored.
there was that other place. The soul
its crawlspace traced with lavender.
Muriel followed my grandmother
from hill to hill, spitting wide her amethyst hair.
Calcium emptied all through cornfields. Her seersucker dress
stopped among calculated rows of pigeonweed. I wanted to kiss her.
The horse returned. Miasma between doorways, time
beyond the sun. This wasn’t the first god. Just as, in the century’s last pages,
night herons returned, milk oiled, dusted in the cinnamon surface of seed. Consider
here the deity who marveled. The one
who traveled through mirrors to capture
the size of death, the curve of it inside the physical
fear of men. John,
she’d say, the body is coming. All
through the house sibyls chattered—given
reason to translate birdsong so that you might recognize her voice within
the mimicry of church bells,
her syntax, that rusted key
Ziplocked in saltjar, would open the sonnet, but you
were lawless. Without convention, you reminded
her of heaven. This
is where you started. Where you felt it. Most days it was so
simple to love, and to give everything but—
neon vacancy signs, pools
of candy-light, inlets of roadside motels, like a hidden
curiosity for the obsolete—love.