After the Confession

Across the country, bridges are falling
Into the water.

The corners of his eyes shimmer with damp skin.
There is one tear trembling on his chin.

She leaves him on the couch and drives to work.
Above her the sky is filled
With pairs of birds, their spread feathers
Grasping the air like fingers.

photograph by flickr user Swami Stream


The Execution of Mata Hari

from the lost diary of Captain Jean Lautrec

As the Times tells it she died
in a crisp white suit as the sun rose.
In the questions that came after, we were not asked
what became of it, whether we cast lots for her blouse
at the feet of her corpse. We were not asked
if we sold it to well-endowed eccentrics,
or if the new light in her flashing eyes
led us to fold it in a pocket.
And when the shift ended, did we transfer it
(still warm) to a box of letters
and money and perfumed handkerchiefs? Nobody asked.


Outside the Mall After the Rain

They are roses. Just roses,
perfect pink like young love. But
in this moment they are everything:
irises. Daisies. Orchids. Even
cherry blossoms are eclipsed
in the tenderness of this vision.
I want to swallow them, to wash my face
with the glittering petals, to stare until
they are as much me as my name
or my dislike of roses.


For Paula, Before We Leave

after Saint Jerome

We must not.
must not; we

The silks in your bed-
chamber: sell them.
The Lord has no room
for your softness.

Our bodies are
small and choke our souls, you must leave
your heart
behind. Your eyes will
find a new light.

And in the sunrise
over Egypt we will burn
our sins away:
we must not--we
must not.

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