Saturday, September 25, 2004

The Baker
She kneads dough
from whatever's been

hanging around,
rolls out earth, fire, water, air

to the thickness of an eyelash
until the goop is more

or less uniform.

She's ready to bake cookies.

Today the shape of a circle
is her favorite.

She frames one out,
sprinkles a planet

with mountains,
those green trees.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

A woman bound in black rags,
a burqa falls to mold and mulch.

She's hollowed over a single spark
inside the discolored sink of her hands.

Hers alone this splinter --
to stone with rocks, or feed with her breath?

Just a moment, please.
She's thinking.

Because she swore to keep the treaty,
even after her family disappeared

to a place she can't imagine,
her heart exiled within her chest.

She must allow the spark to burn.
And yet...

Thursday, September 09, 2004

Sing Song
When they hear you've died, even now,
so many people don't know what to say. I don't get it.
I thought death was a well-known thing
as compared to when my parents
stopped working. You'd think with AIDs,
the War in Iraq, and 9/11, word had gotten out.

If I were still a technical writer,
I'd put together an instruction manual for co-workers
who avert their eyes,
or tell me how they've sprained an ankle,
or wait for me to call and ask for help.
They are the rescuers.

But what can I tell my friends who stop by my desk
with their unsolicited gentleness,
explain to them how our rivers diverged,
even as I held you between my thighs,
rocked with the great mystery
of who you were?

It's the finality, the caesura
of our lives.
What's left is notation,
written on the face
of our children, the G clef
of how much we once loved each other.

Sunday, September 05, 2004

Prayer for Tashlich
I cast my memories
to geese at Lake Merritt
so as they shit,
somewhere between sky and earth,
my Gemini, who had a heart like a volcano,
you will hear me.

I pray fogiveness
that I could not admit to myself
how much I loved you,
because it was opening a deep wound.

I pray forgiveness
that I could not admit to myself you were dying,
and was not there to shepherd you
through those burnt mountains.

I give thanks for the last joke
you left me with,
and hope you are singing
to a loft of children.

Love is what calls us into being.
Death calls us back.

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

For My Husband, Robert Galitzen
The week you died my gas tank
never dipped below the half-way mark.
I kept driving and driving anywhere
to let in the fresh air.
I had a magic gas tank.

The week before you died
I saw babies asleep with chins on their necks
in strollers, angels of dimpled thighs,
and pigeons rose in spirals against
the rectangle of buildings,

and so I was caught off balance
when I found you in your bed,
eyes rolled back in your head,
arms stretched out as if to receive
the cold kiss of death without flinching.

I had a magic tank of gas
that took my car everywhere,
but not back to you.