Debby Jo Blank
The Most Delicate Bone
To become wise, a person must commit many mistakes
and then fly into the sun.
Light does not cleanse, though its invisible whiteness
seems as if it could leech out impurities.
By the Ganges women with stones wash their saris
and then drape them across the rocks to dry,
gossamer swathes of indigo, fuchsia, amber and emerald
with scattered gold stars twinkle
amid the fields of pure color as the water runs
from the Himalayas to the Bay of Bengal.
White saris for widows hide within their solemn threads
the full spectrum of colors, a riot of reds and violet
unseen in the cloth of mourning –– Sir Isaac Newton
discovered this with a prism.
Although you, dear reader, must forgive me because I speak
more about light, than about cloth.
What would we see if I held a prism up to my character?
I like men with the names of angels,
one in particular played the cello and especially liked
the concertos of Boccherini, but I remember most his sadness,
he was infinitely patient with his sadness.
This man, Gabriel, has come to serve as a mirror,
I do not need to reread his letters to remember
the kind of young woman I used to be –– some things change
very slowly until one day they become reliable.
The weight bearing skeleton holds us together,
the lacrimal bone and its delicacy
near the well of tears, the scapulae where wings would emerge,
if we could fly, the mandible that shatters
under the force of fists –– my character as old as my bones,
I will never stand by a wall to face a barrage of stones.
Where Did You Go?
for Andy Blank, 1957-2010
You are the rate limiting step,
we need you to make us complete.
But youre so slow, a catalyst might be required.
Maybe a séance or hypnotism.
The reaction can only go as fast
as you hand over little pieces
There was that girl with the flower tattoo
who took you over the moon?
We all stood on the roof to find you.
When you followed the dog
into the sea filled with stingray,
we stood there with lemons.
We have not lost track or hope ––
we can do it like dogs, smell your track.
Wherever it goes we promise to follow.
But why does your pillow smell like your ear?
Why do these two guys wrap you in sheets?
I will personally put a stop to all of this.
I dare them to take you away.
Warning, this poem will not have the word love.
Your empty chair undoes us
when its time to carve,
though we never start with a blessing.
So, this is a formal invitation (demand)
to return and take your place.
We find it hard to speak
of you, someone always gets sucked
down by the trap door.
But we are not afraid of ghosts.