She remembers knobby
stubs piercing skin,
new vascular velvet insatiable for blood.
Blood stolen from new
breasts, widening hips.
It was time now
for attar of marsh, wetland,
time to stretch
like a quadraped,
to forage dawn and dusk
for grasses, shrubs and forbs.
To revel in the clash of horn.
Aunt Wapiti – Woman with Antlers
Auntie dresses in shot
lavender silk, careful
not to rip the precious frock
on her plush-boned head.
Oh, for a nice cup of tea!
Auntie likes to sit sedately
in the withdrawing room,
ecru ribbons festooning her antlers.
Her guests arrive.
They watch Auntie’s
sapien fingers detach
skewered scones and cakes
from her thorny crown,
nestle them on plates alive
with woodland scenes.
Often, on wash day,
amid fresh breezes
while doilies and tea
towels dry on her
“Where is the window to my heart?”
Auntie remembers her birth,
her like an umbrella.
Love Dream in a Time of Isolation
I will not be crushed with loneliness,
with ziggurats of desire thwarted by destiny.
The tea ceremony will not be covered in ash.
We will meet in mists of rousing thunder.
In clouds of cinnamon and oolong, of nutmeg
and anise. On fire ships before we die,
on mother ships before we were born,
on baroque barques of pearl and amethyst.
Jade will steer us into the open lotus,
the ephemeral comet. Honey locusts
will occupy eternity in the next room
while we eat almonds and currants
inside a ruby volcano. You will be
the triumph of my floating world
the silver ghost in my kaleidoscope
of moths. I am your prey. You are
my bird of paradise, topaz, shining,
shifting my heart into the lifting light.
Air Mail Envelope
Green ink block letters. Correo Aéreo in cramped black ink, underlined by sumi-e slash that starts strong, then fades away like skywriting. Candy cane border. Dolphin’s head, faintly visible. Can dolphins fly? On the stamp, etched in red, thousands in a stadium. Clouds overhead. Official black ink circle, September 11, 1972, the year the South Tower rented to tenants for the first time.
It sits in my hand like the ghost of a carrier pigeon. The return address, San Miguel de Allende, Guanajuato, Mexico, is 2,474 miles from lower Manhattan. No scent remains of either place, but its thin touch heats my memory - blue-throated peacocks in hacienda gardens suddenly display a green redolent of earth’s true life, spangled with jewel-eyed feathers – until onionskin bursts iridescent, flakes of color cover my eyes.