Perseid Meteor Showers

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Three by Katherine Larson!


Love at Thirty-two Degrees

                               I

Today I dissected a squid,
the late acacia tossing its pollen
across the black of the lab bench.
In a few months the maples   
will be bleeding. That was the thing:   
there was no blood
only textures of gills creased like satin,   
suction cups as planets in rows. Be careful
not to cut your finger, he says. But I’m thinking
of fingertips on my lover’s neck   
last June. Amazing, hearts.
This brachial heart. After class,
I stole one from the formaldehyde
& watched it bloom in my bathroom sink
between cubes of ice.

                               II

Last night I threw my lab coat in the fire   
& drove all night through the Arizona desert   
with a thermos full of silver tequila.

It was the last of what we bought   
on our way back from Guadalajara—
desert wind in the mouth, your mother’s   
beat-up Honda, agaves   
twisting up from the soil
like the limbs of cephalopods.

Outside of Tucson, saguaros so lovely
considering the cold, & the fact that you   
weren’t there to warm me.
Suddenly drunk I was shouting that I wanted to see the stars   
as my ancestors used to see them—

to see the godawful blue as Aurvandil’s frostbitten toe.

                               III

Then, there is the astronomer’s wife   
ascending stairs to her bed.

The astronomer gazes out,   
one eye at a time,

to a sky that expands   
even as it falls apart

like a paper boat dissolving in bilge.
Furious, fuming stars.

When his migraine builds &
lodges its dark anchor behind

the eyes, he fastens the wooden buttons
of his jacket, & walks

outside with a flashlight
to keep company with the barn owl   

who stares back at him with eyes
that are no greater or less than

a spiral galaxy.
The snow outside

is white & quiet
as a woman’s slip

against cracked floorboards.
So he walks to the house

inflamed by moonlight, & slips
into the bed with his wife   

her hair & arms all
in disarray

like fish confused by waves.

                               IV

Science—

beyond pheromones, hormones, aesthetics of bone,
every time I make love for love’s sake alone,

I betray you.

   ****


Broke the Lunatic Horse

The Milky Way sways its back
across all of wind-eaten America
like a dusty saddle tossed
over your sable, lunatic horse.
All the plains are dark.
All the stars are cowards;
they lie to us about their time of death
and do nothing but dangle
like a huge chandelier
over nights when our mangled sobs
make the dead reach for their guns.
I must be one of the only girls
who still dreams in green gingham, sees snow
as a steel pail’s falling of frozen nails
like you said through pipe smoke
on the cabin porch one night.  Dear one,
there are no nails more cold
than those that fix you
underground.  I thought I saw you
in the moon of the auditorium
after my high school dance.
Without you, it’s still hard to dance.
It’s even hard to dream.


   ****


Statuary

The late cranes throwing
their necks to the wind stay
somewhere between
the place that rain begins
and the place that it ends
they seem to exist just there
above the horizon at least
I only see them that way
tossed up
against the gray October
light not heavy enough
for feet to be useful or
useless enough to make
gravity untie its string. I’m sick
of this stubbornness
but the earthworms
seem to think it all right
they move forward
and let the world pass
through them they eat
and eat at it, content to connect
everything through
the individual links
of their purple bodies to stay
one place would be death.
But somewhere between
the crane and the worm
between the days I pass through
and the days that pass
through me
is the mind. And memory
which outruns the body and
grief which arrests it.


Katherine Larson







No comments :

Post a Comment