Collaboration between poet Caitlin Neely and myself as part of a larger collaborative performance between the Composition & Computer Technologies and Creative Writing programs at University of Virginia in April 2015.
Poem first appeared in Devil's Lake (english.wisc.edu/devilslake/index.html).
aft. L.B.-B. for E.D.
I keep my darkness. Rush of fence;
rain all day, but leaving. No
conversation. The valleys fold.
When are you coming? Hi, midnight,
hi, farmland. The afternoon like snow.
The landscape: take this off, take that—
all at once hands in the trees,
the face I've been wanting so long.
Call it swallow, call it longing,
call it wood-song. Some life
will crystalize; twig-soaked
in salt mine, plankton luminescing sea:
a beekeeper headlong in comb-husk,
torso halfway into chasm, honey gorge.
You shy in a picture: hair down,
legs crossed, light along the edges.
I visited you once, your hollow
in the ground; it was a temple,
mouth, holy, river blur. Open carefully,
descend me. Beyond the field,
beyond the circumference—
dawn-hushed. Anatomy: waterlogged,
everything spilling, my arms
full of bone and dust. Soil draped
over my mouth saying, listen now.
Notes: The line “take this off, take that—” is from the poem “You Can Thank Me Later” from Mary Ann Samyn's My Life in Heaven. The phrase “river blur” is from the poem “At the River Unshin's Edge,” and the eighth line was inspired by the poem “When the Gods Go, Half-Gods Arrive,” both from Lucie Brock-Broido's The Master Letters.