Her skeletal spine bows like a crescent
A single violin, thin and hollow
Bends her farther still
Tiny ivory steps across the palette of her back
A waning waxen figure enslaved by sound
Starved so that she can not exist as a
She is only music
Her heart beats fast against her translucent chest
Her hunger screams from behind emaciated ribs
Possessed by drums and strings not belonging to her fragile anatomy
Compelled forward in measured movements
She is a weightless apparition en pointe
She devours the darkness around her
Chasing the music in spotlighted circles until she has illuminated the floor
And she seems human
For a moment
With quivering muscles and bleeding toes and breath behind her painted lips
But then the music stops and she falls
As a petal to the floor
Folding into herself and
becoming the silence
We built a fire next to horse creek reservoir
The frozen water bubbling with dormant life and summer secrets
And we stared into growing flames and apologized
For letting the fire ever go out
Both of us wishing we had burned alive
Instead of drowning on the periphery
By morning I was alone trying to light the ashes
Trying to reanimate even a spark on the cold mountain sand
But the time had passed for such forgiveness
And I wept
For twice as long as I burned
Until my memory of you sank deep in the water
Dormant for as long as this
I remember the moon from before I knew who I was becoming
Waning slivers of hope
Hiding the worst of me in shadows
And waxing halos of forgiveness
Shining gentle light on my sins
Giving me time to repent before the full moon
And I waited on my knees
Until the maddening blue light crept into every chamber and illuminated
God how many times I let it drive me insane
Unable or unwilling to hide
Because I knew the darkness always returned
A new moon for an old soul
A cycle of crippling fear
A woman living for a couple days of darkness
And now the same truth seeking sphere of light
Welcomes home her naked daughter
All her sins and secrets dissolve into darkness
And her soul is illuminated
A woman living for light in the darkness
My fingers tear across the hard brass strings.
They ache to find the right note
the right chord
to trigger my memory.
I found you once in a diminished B 7
but you vanished and moved on
and I’ve been playing ever since.
And what if you’re a melody,
Lost in a pattern in these goddamned frets.
Then I’ll learn to write songs
like I learned to play guitar.
I’ll find you, I swear,
and I’ll play you until I fall asleep.
I’ll play you until I bleed.
I’ll play you until I remember
or hallucinate the feeling
of your beautiful, calloused fingers on my face.
I love the way your tongue limps over consonants
But lingers idly on some
Is it linguistics that makes your love
Is there a cathedral behind your lips
That no one can see
Is it the Irish Sea I hear in your whisper
Let’s get lost in translation and I’ll taste what I can’t understand
The details just don’t matter
I heard love
That L that limps forward on your palate like the
Liffey limps toward Dublin Bay
The O that’s as soft and hollow as the
Crypts at Clonmacnoise
The V that vibrates on your lips like the tender hum of
Spirits ten thousand years old
And an E
As silent as the fields of Athenry
Sweet sound, let me swallow your meaning
And I’ll never starve again
Oh my son, I’ve dreamt you again.
You’re thin as this sleep but let me hold you
My little egg shell child.
Does it hurt anymore when you fade away?
To make you say goodbye so often.
What is it they say
About mothers letting go?
I never held my dream in real arms.
Real arms, no
But I held you and I hold you still
In fragile visions that feel like memories.
Oh my son, to have memories