Sestina: Warrens

I searched everywhere: behind the oak tree with the blemish
On its trunk, and the old cypress
Where the tractor sits at the end of the path where we got lost
Playing one summer day; me the fox and you the rabbit
Changing roles turn and turn about like the fluid
Sunlight that made long shapes of us on the ground

It must have gone to ground
Hiding its face like covering up a blemish
Or a beauty-mark, thick pinkish fluid
Coverup, then powders with names like “autumn” or “cypress”
Tested, each one, on a caged rabbit
With dark eyes, hardly born before it’s lost

I’m not sure how to find it, if it’s even lost
I’ve covered every inch of ground
Sniffed it out like the fox and the hound – I mean, the rabbit
That ran before us, vanishing into a blemish
In the mossy bank under the cypress
Where the creek huddled, more mud than fluid

Perhaps it can’t be found; it takes on more shapes, changing and fluid
And every time you find it, it just gets lost
Again, hidden away where the cypress
Makes shapes like lace on the ground
And the hills rise, each a blemish
In this evening field there’s not a single rabbit.

I am the rabbit
In the moon, I am the everchanging fluid
Shape of things, look at my white face without blemish
And hide your eyes or you’ll be lost
Just another stain on the ground
In the shadow of the cypress

The Romans lined the way with Cypress
Elm, pine, and hunted the woods clean of rabbit
Deer, partridge and all the small creatures who lived on the ground
So too the trout were chased from the fluid
Streams and rivers; we too are lost
The map is clean of path, road, blemish

Our love letters are written on the trunk of the cypress; they have faded to a blemish
The rabbit that roamed the fields has dug a maze and become lost
I cannot stand my ground in this light, silver and fluid.

Another sestina, prompted by six words from the sadistic editors.



It’s not that you’re Seeley Booth; it’s that you’re not, but almost. Dark hair, blue eyes, a sniper with a penchant for socks and boxers as loud as your snore. I find myself again in the span of your thumb and forefinger.



, ,

Your lips, my love, are red; your thighs are white
And purple where my fingers left their mark
Your curving hip is pale like candlelight
Your body is my shield against the dark

I think I taste you still upon my hands
The copper-iron sweetness of your kiss
And helplessly I yield to your demands
To consecrate my body with your bliss

My only comfort lies in your embrace
In all my life I wandered without rest
Until I saw the shadows of your face
And gave my heart its safety in your breast

And I, who was the Empress of desire
Have bound myself to burn upon your pyre



, ,

Farewell, I said, and fare well, you replied
Farewell and fare thee well and I will too
I said I’d see you soon again; I lied
I left my home behind when I left you
I measured off the miles between the stars
When darkness was the only map I found
I traced a course by Jupiter and Mars
And never set a foot on solid ground
You asked me not to promise to return
You told me not to swear that I would write
You knew before I knew: I had to burn
And walk among the fires of the night

I can’t stay on the ground; you could not fly
There never was a good in our good-bye


We remember the first and last, men and women bearing the weight of their names with the torch. But the fire belongs to the in-between, bought with footsteps and paid for with failures that snap and snarl outside the circle of light.



It was an unsettling dinner, I think, as I straighten my jacket and vest. And it’s going to be an even more unsettled night. The light buzz of the wine is almost gone and I briefly regret its absence – the wine as well as the intoxication – but there would never have been a more appropriate time to drink it, that last bottle liberated from the Governor’s cellar while above me Emmion Verril’s corpse danced in green firelight. Continue reading

How we break

I am the fondant on this broken-glass cake
I make it smooth
And perfect
Bite into it, tear me open with your teeth and bleed

I bring you the partially-dismembered birds of love.
And the rat heads of affection
I play the kazoo outside your window at odd hours
Until you remember you are a pro

Professional, that is
And you shut the window and the glass breaks

Did you see the swirls of frosting?
Three sticks of butter
No, five
It took me three hours to bake this cake
For you, because you were having a bad day

The orange roses are wilted
and the post office
won’t return my phone calls

I sang extra loud in the car today
With the radio up
Until the speakers rattled and tore
What’s another word for
Not broken?


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