A Cargo of Green Hearts
the snake sheds its skin to make more snake
the moon drops her black skirts to round herself
the trees grow wider rippled out in slow rings from a single seed
the owl measures the darkness with her spherical voice
the fox cuts a red ribbon across your headlights.
from where do you enter this world? asks the bear over the
dark afterthought of his shoulder. do you think it matters
how you sit on this seat of earth, how you stand
on the rocks of your feet? be something sudden
says the frog. plunge in. Durga, you have all the answers.
you have placed them around me, in all directions
in all forms.
I am waiting for the last leaf
to fall a turn of the twig the
sound of the frost cracking its
white knuckles. the leaf
will lie on its back a jot of blood
on a drab field and the sun
taking notice will abruptly set.
I wait for this every year
the way an astronomer waits
for a star to die and reflexively
holds out his hands
as if to catch a falling child.
who hasn't done the same
when love fails? by November
I will be three quarters full of
wing-broke birds and making room
for more. Durga, you did not tell me
about this sort of waiting. you did not
warn me of all the things that will
fall through my hands.
if I should die or pretend to die
face down turned away from the holy orange sun
please--in the heaviest sense of that word
please the way a starving child says please--
please come drape your entire worldly
weight on me and press my heart
that bitter acorn into the center of the earth
below the frost.
when I let go I want everything taken
from me even that last thimble of air
threatening to lift me like a tired kite.
I want to go down heavy as a blues hymn
be down stay down become down
not the metaphor but the thing itself.
down! only your special gravity is enough
you who fit me like a spoon
you who floated on the simple raft of
my body and called it your royal
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