Also in this issue, an excerpt from Yael Shinar's poetic documentary AWAKE, ALERT, ORIENTED
How do I speak
I could say that she died,
by the digits of her hand and perhaps of her mind.
I could say that the usual things happened:
the muscles stiffened,
the bowel moved,
the urine leaked
onto her casual clothes, down to her black socks.
Her eyelids went a little blue and tears dried on her face.
Then professionals came.
Had she let me, I would have taken her to a surgeon,
to implant my love a little deeper.
Then to remove the anesthetic mask that covers her now like a prayer shawl.
Over a year, my grief leaks out of me like sweat, and my bowel moves.
I restore stores, I remove waste, and I scour fleeting illnesses.
Part of the whole story goes like this:
her brother found her, hanging, still his own as ever.
Her mother asked yes and no questions about the past.
Satisfaction from sugar became more fleeting after her burial,
and also more sufficient.
I began to chart distances between synonyms.
It was noon, probably, when she began to die.
Evening came, and I cried with my boyfriend.
Next, the sun rose, distinct in the sky-blue sky.
God Does Not Sit in the Nostrils of the Starlings Beak
to wake alone
to open the window to spring chill—
a stranger to the dew
to wake alone, wander room to room,
turning on lights,
turning them off—
the heater turned on, a tourniquet to
quiet this mind—
the birds outside—
their feathers tremble in the breeze—
This world, a substantiated adjective meaning God,
alive and looking, or
pressing my thumb into an old wall to taste and erase the dews of the ancients, who built it, or
the anchor that holds no ship
in the shallowest dune of the sea,
the chain billowing up
to the surface of the water, or
hearing gaps between the singing and the sung, my heart, or
memories, like ripe, wet bones in flesh.
Or the one by whom
we take the long view—
we see our children,
one of them will be happy
of this land
The one who, when I ask now, What land?
says at one breath in one time,
The one you stand on.
The other one.
Stranger, consider the neighbor
who wakes and makes coffee,
straps leather over the arches of her feet
in the same gulp of time—
on loan from the heavens, or from God,
or from whatever we depend upon
to rewrite confusion, each morning,
in sconces of blessing—
as the blue blurs into yellow,
the way light,
but no human pigment
we have an analogy for this:
the child moves from sounds to words,
intention has already been there some
this is no drastic or lamentable change,
it is the mystery becoming the writing,
becoming the breath—
on blades of grass,
across the down of birds,
into the veins of leaves.
The leaves, they are this polysemic,
bowing all around
to seek the old shoot
that vanished long ago,
The song of the leaves
one history of one people
They are looking
for the name of their God,
whose call they heard all winter
who created limbs for them
they only now see—
—If God does not sit in the nostrils of the starlings beak,
the veins of the eye
writing their script
on the new world.
Youll have twelve starts from beginning to finish,
and when you get to eleven, we lose count, we start over.
The city gate
cannot tell us
by what hand it grew,
arched its back to let the night through
its narrow veil
so many times torn
The sun set, having no regret—
There are long days available to us.
Available to us, water, the sun setting.
Apples will ripen, someone will bake yeast bread,
even in seasons we lie in bed and grow thin, thinking.
A woman in a blue dress is native to this country in the sense that, like it, she mimics the sky.
Guilt echoes through our organs like organs in church bathrooms.
Have I nothing to say that will etch
a sign of justice?
seem wise investments—
not to hang, but to make,
to get to know the wrist—
a solitary lovemaking
Which way to the beginning?
Ill follow you