Monday, June 14, 2010



The still small voice cleaves
like thin smoke from a bed
deep in arcadia; there is
an arrow true and straight
to her, not to be spoken
as though the jaws gobbling
up my life have had their
fill at last; as though
my own fast is broken
upon this note, my mother's
song a falling scale of bone.

Sinking so far into herself
she's no one, yet I hear it borne
upon the wind, ancient voices
of the child she was, marking
time to save herself from moaning.

She chews grapes, spits them.
They have landed on my skin
and turn it green, it is
green fire speaking upon me
a burn too fierce to see.

That was the bed, the island;
hands stray like crabs
to find the shoreline; there is
an expedition in this visit
though the nurse won't catch it.

I hold the receiver tight
use a lover's words to
fold her loose and too-wide
wish her back unto its own,
take out my hard-won stone
and sharpen up love's knife;
late now for feeble gestures
send my heart hot down the line
for chewing on, knowing it lands
but no geography, nothing of that
boundless offering left to see.

Too far out she is for any
contemplation; there are laws
it seems, beyond cognition, too
vast and tremulous not to obey her
nor submit this moment's grace to
things undone.

-Nicki Jackowska

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