hone her tune

the sky falls slow in slivers and shards; to us, it’s all silver. we walk through the yards of the blueblooded bored, and each candlelit window’s a faithought restored. in thermal profile we see each other’s faces, a sheath of warmth around us given shape by snowflakes’ traces as they dance on breath and barely breeze by skin. we agree that elfin means not elven, and wonder whether barters bend as soon as they begin.

we find ourselves walking on ice, and choose steps as we would words–with care. she smilesays look, we’re our totems: you’re cat-crouched, i’m winging for air. we go balance to ballet to none-ever-know, noticing needing to learn letting go.

and then when you’re standing, i say, empty-handed, your fingers find forms as desi(re|gn)’s demanded.

later, the Houghynnmen sing us a church, and the sirens in the middle sway gently as birch. when they come again, we say, we’ll bring them something warm. we walk home so slowly we don’t feel the storm.

a staring problem

she tends to focus on the phases and forget about the faces. she studies so closely how resemblance dissembles that she trips on her shoes’ traces and gets trapped when trading trembles. she’s one of those unfortunates, so sensitive to gravity, who end up treating dancing as diminutive depravity.

she loves structural color, like rainbows and redshifted stars. she builds glass cages for catching light, keeps total internal reflection in jars on the mantle above her false fire.

“higher, always higher! that’s where you house your dexterity when i dowse your hexterity–your nimblesse at vexing the text, don’t you know? that’s where all the good gewgawed gods go. so cheat the shoulder, tilt the head, avert. aver. shrug. examine the rug. don’t let them hear your purr.” thus she advises the gestating glimmers; sharply her glances lance through their soft shimmers.

she goes surfing on the surface of [t]he[i]r sight’subjected matter; riding the reflections, she’s foreshortened and backscattered until all those outer edges twist to touch like sorrow seeking sleep, and mass and motion mean so much she melts down into distant deep.

but dreaming is not drowning, even at the height of day, and when she wakes out of that wash, she has this wish the will to say:

“until i’ve gained some distance from my unconditioned eye, i’ll keep no glass or glamour in between my hearth and sky. to concentrate, to consecrate, in reticence to radiate, and always to wear wind shall be my task. so mote it: give it dust to show the rays where light is falling [c]lean enough to ask.”

so goes the story, so goes the tale: this is how the earthenactress first takes up the veil.

reductio ad infinitum

by alphabet, by number, and by sign
we net what nature never met unwed
and make of space a square, of time a line.

reality by [t]reason realigned
subordinates whole heart to half-wise head
to half-abet a numbness by design:

diminishing to datum, we define
all shadows out from deeps divine, shades shed
to mark out space in squares and time in lines.

in constructs, contact’s conscience we confine
and with a pen pare down what presence said
to alpha’s set: bare number and mere sign.

then so reduced, ourichness we resign.
we make eternal infinite instead
and shake our species’ care to mind the lines.

and when these commonsenseless crimes combine
we tremble to approach where truth once tread–and so
by alphabet, by number, and by sign
we make of space a square, of time a line.


spring is her season. we met her in May, when fields were full-flowered and thoughts of snow stowed well away. that same melt feeds her down and deep, the warmth that wakes from winter’sleep with trickles turning torrent at each dreamdustreambed’s yawning mouth. (did you hear about the breeze who loved a boulder? she’storied similarly, but her song is so much older–from when the world was wilder, and the west was nearer south.)

we came by trails through trials, creeping slow as snails for miles alongside rambling river['s]ways whose wizened words we echoed soft. our minds all w[h]et with wonder, we crossed over on to under, towing out our treasured troves to see them twist and sink aloft.

conduc[t]ive was that medium to short thoughts with long pauses, filled to spilling over in the single sudden consequence of many quiet causes. we carried our containers and she fi(ll|t) them with her forms, strident [und]ou[b]tpourings in the shape of [st]rainbow storms: puddles of paid penitence, a goblet of good grief, bowls of barefor[e], bottled blues, and cups of cool relief.

we drank them down and heard her, more by heart than head. she shivered, and she shimmered, and this is what she said:

i Undine am wherever any water is alive. my tidaline embraces all whose ripples surface and survive. all water is the ocean, and the ocean is mother. this i make my measure, and i need not an[y]other.

we wrapped ourselves in those humid words, our humanskins lovingly worn, and buoyant with the swell of her we swa[r]m[ed] up to be born.


a kiss is not a quest[ion]. this axiom we hold. Fortune’s not the only one whose favorites are the bold. in itself an end–and all the same, a start–it can be an answer, and an arrow, and an art.

we inveterate urbanites in hard ochre aura, lisping through cleft palettes with the forwardness of flora; orchid-like we orchestrate the reds out from our blues, trading and invading with the wilesome words we choose: magic words, like [s]lithe[r], loquacious, end, veldt, and now. if any asks you what we do, you tell them, this is how: [t]rust not in any sandbound lust, but let its star[tle]s soar. carpe momentum is the motto all our kind adore.

how vicious we do not become, when vices are indulged!, which squeeze out secrets delicately, desperately divulged. those velveteen habits are the means of ignition we signify as such: that simple wish named breathless blink, and every torch-born[e] touch.

and if we, by some miracle of science or of sleep, should find ourselves adrift in dreams less friendly than our wont, our [s]tumblings give us sea-legs which our shadowsides still keep: it seems the heated-hopeful heart is doubly hard to haunt.


practicing ardor:
wearing another’s armor,
to show untanned skin.

after deer, adore

the photo on the mantle’s framed in oak. it’s mostly out of focus. she’s steady on tiptoe, and her hands are quiet. in the foreground, clear, a crocus blooms blue riot; behind and blurred, legs loom long and gone.

discovery on Sparrow’s face is dawn. she’s thinking, still, about those dueling stags. with antlers foremost in her mind, she finds an ant on one cobalt petal, and there her searching snags. the pull is a pleasure, less metal than molt, and she treasures it, measures its volume by volt.

this is one how he sees, she thinks, and one how he chooses to haze. she smiles in the style of a labyrinthine lover who’s made out the march of a maze.

Sparrow spends an essent hour, standing staring at the floor. then she sets the chair down by the door.