THE SENSITIVE APE
That silverback male
by dint of much thought
has discovered his female self.
Moving her legs slowly against the water
her legs slowly folding it.
In gelid light
small tufts of pubic hair
floating on either side.
That red red rose is like my love:
thorns below and thorns above.
What you need, he said,
is another trip to the edge
And I thought he was joking.
This fantasy that has deluded many,
that you could open the door and walk
into another place, just like that.
AMONG THE BULRUSHES
It must have happened all the time, a woman
giving a child to the river. But the misery, to think
that chance could better care for itthe conditions of famine,
slavery and suchand the fantasy, that the child, rescued,
would come to recognize itself
at the last possible moment, and free the tribe
from its wretchedness. It must have been that commonplace
to become their story.
A MESSAGE TO THE GODS IN THE BLOOD OF SACRIFICE
See, we have horses,
life is good.
Pointing to the food, he said,
Pardon my French, we can make this
Pardon my French,
The shock of the ocotillo's red spear
against the creosote's green and the yellow flowers
of brittlebush. The birds
there is a stranger here, while insects,
wild with delight,
bid me welcome as a source of liquid.
And the bees
suck at the mud where the stream
had overflowed its banks.
ADAM AND EVE
It's the snake, they think,
that renders tolerable
this otherwise insipid garden.
Stunned into numbness,
Who could have imagined
any of it?
Oedipus the Riddle Solver becomes the answer
to the plague's question:
What sleeps with his mother
and murders his father?
The pace of change being what it is
the homeland you dreamed of
is no longer there.
Like Troy to the Trojans, not one stone
left as a marker.
Tastes like rabbit, the fox thinks,
slinking from the hen-house.
There's many a slip
twixt the clop and the clip.
We call it luck
to die by increments.
I imagined a broken glass thing
inside of me.
My grandmother had a clock
built of mirrors in the form
of a castle. In my first and last
memory it was
broken and dangerous.
It must have been tossed
thereafter, but it was
lovely, the way it glinted,
the way a castle made of glass
was supposed to. No one else
This was the broken glass thing
I had imagined.
Was he doomed
to happiness or not and did it matter. No room for accident
except the slip of the brush.
Slight articulation of a joint
rivets all eyes did she really say
as if every t uncrossed became an l
reducing a dance to a set of poses, a way of operating
Reporting all the symptoms. A woman's voice beyond the curtain: It
was in the groin
The remnant of a structure once projected.
What happens outside the known scenario
binds us in affection. As common
as a swarm of bees. Music. The whole
restaurant dancing to its own rhythm.