Poetry

The Thirteenth Child

If our thirteenth child is a girl, all her twelve brothers must die, so that she may be very rich, and the kingdom hers and hers alone.      from Household Tales, collected by the Brothers Grimm. I never knew their names. Only twelve coffins in one straight line, filling the cold grey crypt. I […]

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The Book of Longing

I promise myself this moment, The stained–glass murmur of angels, the crisp Scent of fresh dreams Turned like furrows in the mind, The green and growing sorrow that lodges Deep in the breast. I taste the memory of you Like an oath on the tongue, like every song Ever wept into the night. Don’t look […]

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Biting Tongues

Speak to us in silk, they say speak to us in milk, be pillow–soft, be satin–smooth be home–spun sugar sweet. We part our lips. We breathe our breaths. We bite our tongues and swallow blood knot stones into our stomachs, heave and spit red salt where words should be, stitch shut our mouths with stubborn […]

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To a Dying Friend

“as old as old is able to be and be there still” Anne Sexton You say, I was so beautiful once but I never knew that ancient beauty only this body like a forest fire like a field of bones its boundaries impossible to distinguish from the bed sheet. You say, I wish they’d let […]

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A Riddler at Market

For Delia and Ellen You’ll know me by my walk between the market stalls, by my shambling gait and by my fur–gown of rust embroidered with nettle and seedpods of dandelion, buttoned in sweet clover from the riverbanks. I am a riddler in a pinecone crown, I speak honey, but don’t let the bees buzz […]

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Σειρήνοιϊν

for Elise Matthesen Here to this island of flowers and bones, not many come but my song draws them like the riptide a drowning sailor or the noose a broken heart. The great ships founder, break their treasure at my feet— oxhides of copper, black–figured wine–bowls, amphorae smashed hollow as the chests of their crew. […]

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The Saga of Captain Jens

A pirate queen and buxom buccaneer is Captain Tina Jens She plunders from the privileged and divies up the dividends She keeps a lair on every coast Cicilia to Syria Your maven for a haven far as Lemnos and Illyria She sails on sloops so swift they oft mistake her for a peregrine Her masthead […]

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Slices of Failure in Super Science

“010000010100100101001100010010010101011001000101” —The Robo Sutra They used to promise me They’d save my head in a jar Or at least my brain, Like Hitler, Which was a bit better Than being stitched together By arrogant barons Back in the days of botch and burke. But don’t think I haven’t noticed, Sliver by sliver, You’ve been slicing […]

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From the High Priestess to the Hanged Man

No one ever explains that bones rust, joints locking like a memory gone faulty and off–key. Instead, we thank our limitations, praising their sharp flint, ignoring the burning and the smoke— the alarms unheeded and commonplace. Sometimes, you don’t know the monster until you’ve seen it, and the worst villain is the one who has […]

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