blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1




Together we learned
       how to undo
the sad songs the gulls
       had woven in the air, an
unraveling like unwinding
       a shaft of wheat, how
peeling back the husk, the taut
       skin, revealed the pearled
berries. We learned to read
       the widening rings
of water, echoes of movement and how
       to time them—anticipating their
disappearance into the margins
       of the marsh, the grasses.
You showed me a walnut shell—brown
       and smooth as a belly, calligraphied
with streaks of black, hollow
       as an unlocked safe.
We slept in the shapes of shells—fan
       folding over fan—hugging
patiently as water. The tiles in your bedroom
       are the color of clay, the color
of dried blood. And yet
       somehow there was no
warning for the trouble made
       by the moon, that shifting
body—how the tides narrow, how a wave
       rises and builds, curling
upwards, which is to climb towards collapse.
       A water flute closes on its own
throat. Wise one, what happened to make you
       so afraid of me, and before—
       so afraid of yourself. 

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