by Jeff Bien
I am crippled now, a hump made of rags
I know it is true, when the shipping fields
run over the crackling sounds,
and the hunched over buttercups mutter my name.
And when we speak for the first time
impossible shadows burning themselves down
in the bonfire of the meadow
that longish book, on eggshells and numberless winters written.
I want not to touch you, with all the eloquence of
the lowing wind, roughing itself to the sea
shaped by orphaned constellations, in the hilling grass
moving them, the sun yoked to its plough.
I know too, how the broken hearts mend, and a first kiss
a prisoner’s map, the curled lines
where other hands have lain,
the long dystopian night where nothing emptied sleeps.
But lofts of crows, watched from afar,
the fuselage of light, the purple in the thimble weeds
and ever barren tree,
the girding stake from which love looks down.
Overseer of the dewless night
the spinning bees and star fruit
the crucified paper cities, the doweling of the universe
crying still, to the one thing above.
If I have tasted this voice, only this voice
in the awful half-stilled nights,
crooked in the memory, in the splitting of a hair
the parable of a pneumonic sea.
And played again, on her tinfoil lips, the music box
of angels and beggars and rags
then after all, asking for more than one word
and in empty wombs, drunken lovers born.
Last updated February 06, 2013