V.109

Sylvia lies on oil-cool sheets
She breathes in shudders, (or smoothness?)
Her lover ponders with no heart
the burnt out sun of her bedroom

Their children are playing downstairs –
he gave them journals for burning
They tear out pages and watch them
shreds that jump up into the sky

This one says “I was loved and then
my lover’s brain smoothed quite over”
and the embers crawl along it
a gold wave that doesn’t come back

but just keeps going and going,
or like an event horizon
He knows that by sealing her mouth
with a sweaty palm, a quiet

encloses his act in reasons –
how could it have been otherwise
with a man that covers the tracks
to the death with an ashen snow

Who spends evenings in the city
learning new sex techniques, to try
and recover something, sad crow.
But marriage does not live in the past

Crow Absolved

The feather pile in the bin moans
I say, it’s okay, you Crow.
It’s okay. Sleep now.
A last few syllable caws come –
“I’m saw-ree” and I am exhausted by
the real difficulty of innocence
almost impossible
but just
possible

With a faint clinking
the bird bones roll in the wind
taking up shapes
and finally gusting off as sand
dissolving into heaven
or whatever there is

God is there with me in a wheelchair
and Dove,
and we all three cry
for the darkness
and the beauty
and the coldness that has come.

Dove has the last word.
She writes in the sand with her branch
‘absolution’

The Letting go of Crow

Across the courtroom, Crow sits.
His black feathers litter the floor,
a hearse of mahogany boards.

Arraigned by the universe, he is bound
to try some old tricks – but Dove,
his opposite and cancellation, now

stands with a sigh, coos and points.
On the projector the horse’s dark body
whose beautiful and terrible hooves

are tied. “Did you create this nightmare?”
Crow’s mouth opens, and out pour stars
Books, portents. Series of things fleeing.

Crow feather-bunches up into fists
little tight handfuls of blackness.
He parrots back “Nightmare, nightmare”

Dove sighs again, changes the slide.
A schedule for housework – “and these,
your claw marks but I see…

Crow your name is not here.
Do you think a horse deserves
this kind of torture?” Oh bright Dove.

By this point all Crow’s feathers
are out. He’s a plucked little terror.
Dove just looks sad. “Sweep that up, please.”

They work, while Crow is croaking
“god’s nightmare. god’s. violent…”
But it’s too late. I’m leaving.

Walking past the curled up
wormlike bird on the stand, and out,
I drop my copy of the book in the dullness,

hold open the door and Dove walks with.
Her feathers’ pearlescence gallops across.
We talk about her day, and I make her tea.

Dove Makes a Home Visit

Dove, glid
over feathers

“Crow, you mess
you made a mess
no you’ll make things worse
don’t speak

eat your worms
I’ll come back later, with the nurse
she wasn’t happy. last time

crow what will we do with you

its okay look at me
aaaah
don’t pick your scabs
aaaaah

back soon
back soon I know
I know
bye”

then with a sigh, she heads next door
where god lies sleeping
in a dusty armchair

Dove’s Mission Creep

Dove sat
stunned at what had happened
god sat next to her

I still don’t quite know what happened, said god
Dove stared, and all god saw was his own face
this made him glad.

But then he saw crow far off on the dry world
began to cry
Dove hopped on his shoulder and drank

The tears made Dove grow terrible
she slipped out into the heavens
with a syringe and a cotton swab

Dove Builds a City in the City

A winter wind gusted
Dove heard it, rang through the archway

Her dark veins pulsed in the frost
Til the blood boiled over hope

Cracking the paving glade
Her crusting eye fixing on the mist
the dirt, the sand, beneath the skinnings

Crystals poured from her lungs
Piling growing strata of symbol
Resolving, concrete sinnings
Shimmer towers, seeding.

A winter wind blew
Dove heard it, and said
A winter wind taught us to dream