– for Noah
The child holds on inside me:
pink bat, drowsy possum.
With quick teeth,
I eat handfuls of bread
and fruit the shape
of my own body,
pear juice like tears
coats the flesh of my arms.
At night coyotes send up sparks of hunger and laughter from the frozen field.
I need to see shadows made into fire. At the window, my belly presses hard
on the cold glass as if the eyes inside also wake and blaze.
I sleep a complicated circle
of desire and panic. Faces jut
from the underbrush claiming
we’ve found you and will keep you.
My hands are useless leaves,
my throat as dry. I clutch my breasts
and gut and come up with fists full
of bindweed and ragged feathers.
If I have turned wild, long-haired, ravenous,
it is because there are so many ways grief
could come down, its paw impossibly
(but possible!) huge and sharp and sure.
My husband gathers me up. Turning
the day to clouds and lilacs, he comes
with sacks of books, more fruit, then smoothes
our bed into a cool, pale square.
There is nothing to do about the pulp and gore nestled in a sweet grass basket
except swing the bundle by a rope high above my head toward an icy gully,
letting go again and again, and shrieking.
Please live. I have dreams without reason.
The boy I loved
until the morning
I spied him alone
in the dorm kitchen
lifting a wedge
of wet fruit gently
from its soft bowl,
bringing to his mouth
a bit of amber
with a spoon rimmed
in calm, blunt teeth.
I have found you
and will keep you
with my own body.
Please live. I know
the coyotes press in,
but I’ll swing
my hair on fire
to ward them off
and bring you home.
The morning I married the boy,
light caught the edge of his eye
and turned his face half-golden.
The cellos played. I gasped
as my dress streamed red.
With flowers, with flowers.