Waxing Gibbous

There she is.

I wondered how she’d look tonight

when earlier today

I swept free the cobwebs from the legs of a patio chair.

Irritable and stately,

perhaps

half a cloud sliding from one nude shoulder.

Radiant and hungry,

no doubt

searching for the approval she knows she deserves.

Wide eyed and watchful

99.7 percent full

encountering the events of the world

just as it is today:

November on the coat of a cat.

Crickets at precisely 7:58 PM.

and my mother,

sliding in a pan of cupcakes for my birthday.

Nepeta Cataria

If I accomplished nothing else today

I planted nepeta cataria

inside the broad mouth of a flower pot

leftover from my grandfather’s passing.

I held a pony tail of her sticky locks

and considered long the origin of her species,

the ancient quality of dirt unearthed

with five extra heaves of a shovel,

and of Annie Dillard for no good reason at all,

ruffling the tips of winter-killed grass

with the flat of her palm.

Loving her not for those words

but for how they make me know her.

I whispered nepeta cataria

An incantation

for the animal of that root bundle

to rouse with startled delight

inside the dark.

Ashes falling into my cup

I can hold my daughter’s compassion in firelight

one tiny log at a time

make it last

her ashes falling into my cup

I can hold the weight of the moon in my breath

one porcelain eye on my chest

make me see

her ashes falling into my cup

I can hold my soul in the sinew of both hands

one sacred goddess rising

make her return

as ashes falling into my cup

Atlas

How much can you swallow before it swallows you back

When the empty is heavier than the sky that he held over his head for losing

to Zeus

to Gods who have no business being Gods

I thought about that today

going back up the stairs to my office after a particularly shitty phone call

Miserable, heavy, hopeless

Holding up the sky on my shoulders, still trying to remember the name of that Titan

Atlas

and suddenly grinning like a Sufi

Remembering none of that

when a fat squirrel, one I’ve seen many times, paused just long enough outside the glass

Reminding me of my Grandpa who died when I was twelve

and solitary balloons still make me believe he is reaching out

that stupid squirrel made me drop the sky

and fall to my knees and laugh

There is no alone with poetry

Dead poets line four walls

Fixed eyes, thin skin choking on dust

Indignant, gracious

Quit looking for me here, they say

The best part of living is what you learn alone in the dark when the rest of the world sleeps

All the losing and winning

Brimming and seeping

from pottery shards unearthed in our lost worlds

No man can taste your power like my ancient tongue

The absence of Love is more passionate than the having

Drape my soul over your hip bones

Trail a finger from your hairline to the tip of your nose

Court us both with that storm punishing your window

Lust like a starving god after the you that has no body

Call out your own name

Whimper:  Open your eyes beautiful

Grin at the blond strand of hair you lift from my spine in the morning

But just know that was only the beginning…

Divorce

The TV could be on in the other room

You’d be on your laptop half interested in everything, nothing

Anything but me

Our daughter would be somewhere here; absently, greedily eating illusions

And I’d be dying quietly,

no differently than I am now…

Except that now I get to walk the catacomb like a priestess

reading aloud

with Jack Gilbert in my hands

Rumi

Wendell Berry

Annie Dillard

And think maybe I’ll start a little fire in the backyard tonight with the new moon

I am an ocean

I am an ocean

full of dark things that never see light

My body covers the earth

and when the sun bears his touch

I remember how vast I really am

I could spend hours rolling my head side to side

trying to see all of myself

And that’s when you see me and remember yourself too

I am a Queen

A Mother

Reaching for my people

Retreating softly with the night

An abundant solitude

spread upon the dining table of the moon