Do you fear such heights?
Body weight cumbers flimsy vine,
Lodged at porch-sight, your canopy highrise—
agile feet shutter tree branch skirts,
invite the morning to lick its leaves,
amber glistening forest satin
as you leap, pray the next leaf
a sturdy dwelling.
Do you doubt your footing?
Dash across tightrope
aged by yesterday’s rainfall,
you forward thrust, a mindless certainty.
Trust in fate and veteran instinct.
Vertical leaps, your playful ascend.
Your acorn cove three branches high
and I wonder:
as you survey my inhabited ground,
do you envy my planted feet,
gaze up, questioning?
Chesire – your blue lips bare analogue teeth.
Programmed reproach, you mock the ticking time –
whispers twitch, jeering at each second passed.
Perched, your smirk taunts the wasted breaths below.
Tick, your stillness aches, begs in mockery:
Foolish wasters, how I wish I could
let this coded grin dysfunction.
Quiet my paws in moments,
descend from my station,
Mock my daydreams:
Gazelle, your mother’s treasures have marked you.
Her prudence files your uncalloused hooves;
her outlook lengthens your hindsight;
her patience cambers your spine, bows your head.
Regard her alert, the twitch in your ear —
and you’ll feel the earth pulsate under you.
her emerald stretches, quivering soil,
your sudden still: you, a mindful frame. You
feel him encroach and your mother’s warnings
flex your hind legs, counting down your spring.
lodged in my teeth.
Too comfortable in that crease
between tongue and cheek,
and your foul taste is tangible,
plasters my palate
in peanut butter quarantine.
Stale cereal snarls –
your morning breath
inflames my gums,
your oven fumes
froth behind my lips,
gurgle back toward my lungs –
I inhale your off-putting,
and you consume me,
in dinner leftovers.
I try to scrape you with my pinky nail,
floss you from
and still you
suck your tummy in tight
and hide between
toothbrush bristles —
a naughty child crouches in corn stalks,
ignoring the third dinner call
as the sky grows dim
and the porch light flickers.
A recluse, I watch –
subject to my post
over there, across the way. I watch
an untouchable world. I marvel
at closed circles,
her eyes cast down at her book
his lost in his daydreams. I wonder
how they can be in solitude
with their elbows grazing so gingerly,
as they are.
Then who watches us
in the overcast moments?
When bad days eclipse,
spread in clumps like frozen butter,
rolling with it grains of stale bread
and we curl, quaking from its chill?
Then who praises us
when the work is done?
Our achievements almond flour across our palms,
Residue from the perfect batch, eaten —
and we leave our hands unwashed?
I watch yesterday
from my bedside window,
licking his fingers clean,
and I listen to today’s tummy grumbling
against the hum of my ceiling fan.
frays in midst of must in my chest —
a cracked window circulates its hollowness.
Bits of bone fringe,
tassels strung loose in the draft
like strings at the neckline
of dad’s old Super Bowl sweater
he gifted to me, once
folded perfectly with pride,
and now it hangs shamefaced,
fraying by my bedside.
I feel memories of his arms
through these sleeves
and I think again of my chest —
stale wind fraying bits of bone, fringed.
Toothpick ribs bend, shamefaced
like the aging pine tree
casting shadows against
dad’s bedroom window.
My grandmother’s house
counts her breath on one hand –
body barely held
by flimsy stone
and stripping yellow paint,
veined with brittle pipelines
and heaving ventilation.
Moss and a barren pine
raise phantom flowers to a garden
that bore fruit. Once.
Hungry neighbors wait for her walls.
We hear their feet tap
from inside her crumbling kitchen,
hear their mutters
from cupboards that don’t close,
gorged with enough
rice and tea
to outlive the finger-count.
And still she stands
as their bulldozer’s smoke drifts towards us
from across the paved road.
I pry open my eyes
for my final peaks at an Ireland in motion,
but my line of vision hooks deep into fog –
a soft, parting haze
for my sleepy, mournful gaze
preparing my eyelids for jet-lag
and Welcome to Jersey signs,
and my family already waiting
with a coffee
at baggage claim.
In the morning
I let myself lick the bowl –
let my tea dribble down
the corner of my lips,
my breakfast crumbs
gather onto my lap,
on the black of my jeans.
A meditation in mindlessness-