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Mt. Baker

July 14, 2018

The blood of the sun spilled down the sides of the mountain,
rushing through earthen capillaries and colouring her porcelain skin
pink. I thought she was blushing.

When I was a child, I thought she was blushing.

Such a soft pink, I thought.

During the day, calm and stoic, her skin pure white;
almost translucent in the evenings, blue after the sunset; but
snow is only clothing, and she can shed it if she wants to;
her skin was black and cracking,
and underneath, in wrath, red stone flowed.

When the sun falls the mountain wakes,
and hot rage melts her bridal vestments.

With the others, I lifted her into the chamber and locked the door;
I thought she was blushing, looking through the keyhole, but
at sunset, she was burning with fury.

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City Garden

June 19, 2018

Low, beside the murky water, I rest / on paving stones warm with stored summer. / Something stirs the leaves of the Japanese maple up the path; / I think it is just a breeze, / or a crow, leaving the garden for companionship. /

If I look at the little waterfall and listen, / I can almost forget the road just beyond the wall, / past the unlit concrete dai-dōrō, / rooted in city earth and pointed toward city sky. / It’s peaceful here, like a resting place. /

My hands are draped over my knees; / an insect lands on one of my fingers. / It is a butterfly. / There is no succor for you here, / no sweetness in these bent stamens; / the blush in my skin is no rose innocence, / hiding sustenance. / The creature moves away when my heart beats, / curling my finger. /

I sit back. / On the brown water, a little boat: / a fragment of a walnut shell, / hovering over the dead whale bellies / of discoloured sakura petals. / To the last, they grapple; / half-afloat even after death; / their last breaths still locked in their ribs, / keeping them from the mire. / The tiny ship lists, to join them. /

Suddenly, light-off-glass shimmers, / like sunlight under water, wavering / upon the paving stones, / and voices roughen the concrete under my palms. / Thoughts spill over me into the water, and I retreat / to the grove of bamboo on higher ground.

 

North America

May 10, 2018

Last night, I prayed for storms over the Atlantic—
old storms; to be reborn in their time, greater and more terrible.
For waves to rise like eschatological signs,
for froth to foam from earth’s wet lips in a rage,
for her teeth to bare, her mouth gape, dark and depthless, and
CRASH! for the chasmic cavern to shut, swallow everything
out of sight of the coast.
Never have the roots of her teeth seen the golden chariot draw healing ‘cross the sky;
I prayed for every ship to be ground between her molars and rot in her gums,
their splinters and sailors devoured by krill and darkness.

Looking upon the deeds of my fathers,
naked and hidden,
I begged for a storm to rival Noah’s;
may the Atlantic erupt with hidden, furious waters and consume my history!
May its violence stagger the ambitions of would-be empires,
bring them to their knees like aeronauts at the sight of the Hindenburg;

For this was a holy place and my fathers had no right to pilgrimage.

I almost prayed for the behemoth to stride from the sea to stop them,
but saw it rise in front of the dawn of the desecration with three heads
and the greatest of them was dressed in virgin blue and singing the Magnificat.

I reached back, gave offerings to Poseidon, pleaded for the systems of the sea to twist,
the waves to form a labyrinth, for all the trials of trouble to waylay my fathers—
but I did not feel him in the deep places and opened my eyes to concrete,
where I sprung like a weed in a sidewalk crack from a seed that never should have been planted here.

I prayed for storms over the Atlantic,
but was granted the world instead,
all for a sliver of cinnamon
that stuck under my fingernail
and a one-crop field that grew an empire.

Finally, the soil is dying,
the parasite is chewing,
and maybe there will be a storm, after all.

I’ve lost my eye for beauty

February 8, 2018

I’ve lost my eye for beauty.

God removed
it with a wooden spoon and fed it to
the dogs, who loved the taste of failure.

God
said, “Listen for the darkness, feel it fall
and form around you.”

But I cannot feel
a thing but pain, and only hear the sound
of blood drip tearing from my cheekbones.

Only
death is in my blindness, only fear.

I’ve lost my eye for beauty.

 

Disappointment

November 6, 2017

Wind gusts in the ravines of my ears
but doesn’t stir the detritus in which I sit and dine
on disappointment, having forgotten the taste
and flavour of food and no longer longing
for it.

Whether store-bought or care-packaged this disappointment
tastes sour and sticks in my throat like sickness.

I’m not hungry.

Let me leave here, step from this stifled place,
let me linger for a moment in my own little restaurant,
let me sit on that barely serviceable bench,
breathe,
and take sips of tap water.

There is no waiting list, no ream of reservations,
no one wants to be there but me,
where the comfort is careful,
the wind is calmed,
and the menu is mine,
so
let me.

My left and my right foot would let me;
my eyes permit me, gently;
my heart beats already in my ears, battling
the gusts and gales that do not stir the stripped glory of summer
but its reflection in my youth:
I needn’t ask my heart
to let me;
my hands, though, palms and fingers,
are buried beneath the bricks of elementary school,
locked under the lawns of the legislature,
and are found broken and scattered in the foundations of the shopping mall.

Handless, I am spoonfed,
and disappointment is the dish
that I do not ask for
but have no hand to refuse
while wind whistles
and hunger is only heaviness.

Hannah

September 21, 2017

Pass by!
the tea-cart,
ignore!
the doilies and the mints
(in their crystal bowl),
look down from!
the enormous china cabinet—
DO NOT PASS GO!—

A cutthroat real estate mogul is on the cusp of a monopoly.

But then,
and then,

She serves the whole family dinner,
all the courses and dessert.

Her little frame
held a painting of such colour,

and that colour
is now dancing
beyond its corners.

Swimming

September 14, 2017

a.
Already the colourful strings
show on their napes,
tied in bows.

Plastic bag crinkling,
filled with a towel and old trunks:
pressed on the lap.

How do those windows open?

Wouldn’t it be funny if
“The wheels on the bus go round and
No.

Just moving the red latch makes the buzzer sound.
(it wasnt me)

b.
Eyes on the arms of the boys,
on what’s under their shirts.

Find a stall to change in
quickly
quickly.

Shivering.

Breathe in and hold the ribs out,
cross arms.

c.
Echoes, amplified.
Pitter patter on shining tiles.

Beautiful girls,
colour and skin,
miles of skin
to travel in the briefest look.

Better boys,
shrivelled boy in old trunks:
breathe in and hold the ribs out,
cross arms.

d.
And
brown sticky benches
And
the smell of chlorine
On the way back.