psalm_onethirtyone: (Only Time Gold Doesn't Sink)
[personal profile] psalm_onethirtyone
More poetry! No content, never again!


The night my grandmother died
the full winter moon was shivering,
the white light shuddering
in the black tar sky.
I woke as if I had been sleeping for years.

At last, the sleep at the end
of the vigil. Six long months
with the oxygen tank,
the chilled barrel of breath and aluminum,
quivering behind her on its little set of wheels.

Her hospice nurse called from the care centre
and did not judge me when I said, "Thank God."

My grandfather died soon after
as if he had made a suicide pact with his soul.
The pain in his back spread through his body
with the flow of his blood.

By his birthday we knew he was dying
and when I said good-bye at Christmas I meant it
and he held me as tight
as a man should hold his granddaughter.

My aunt called long-distance to tell us.
The day my grandfather died
he sat in his favourite chair watching the glass door
and the full winter sun was washing him,
splashing itself on his still, still heart.
That night I slept as if I had been awake for years.



She lives in an apartment with a tree
that's growing fruitless in the city heart,
and sometimes thinks, quietly, about me --
most often when she opens up the chart
of her expenses paid and what she owes,
the plumbing and the man who gets the rent.
And so I watch her as she comes and goes
as I have always done; for the present
I'm silent. But when Christmas comes and she
is adding up the gifts for postman, doorman, boss,
she leaves some cake or wine downstairs for me,
The doorman of the gate to luck or loss.
Then I make the oil furnace hum all night,
warmth for the warmth of my lady bright.


the white metal heart in my body is ticking,
soft as a wristwatch bound to your arm.
my windows are wide and my door is sticking
and it’s summer, here on my sister’s farm.
her trees have flowered and her wheat is sprouting,
her little red piglets are getting fat,
and when i dream i can hear you shouting.
my white metal heart is a diplomat:
i’ll send it to you with a box and a letter.
read the speech and bring it home--
the sooner you come the sooner i’m better
after these past six months alone.
i’ll throw the door open, you’ll love me again
and in fall we’ll bring in my sister’s grain.


The Tree

The tree in the window is a curl of brown,
tangled, arching, fruitless,
but at Christmas she hangs it with tiny lights
that glow against the dirty glass and
shine through the old curtain. She
brought it to me once when it was dying and
I healed it,
buried a fish in its roots and nursed it with bonemeal
until the day I brought it back to her
in its chipped ceramic pot.
She doesn't think about me much, I'm not
her lover or her father or her son, but
at Christmas when the tree is lit
above the city street she
comes to the basement and my little room
decorated with the spare
fluorescent bulbs, the mop and broom, the
fuse box and the WD-40. She
brings me a date cake
and a ten-dollar bottle of wine.
Bright lady,
duchess in this castle of indifference,
its rooftop level with the foggy sky. I
battle with the furnace all night until
it casts heat up into her rooms
like a pillar of fire
guiding the wandering Jews to a peaceful place
where all the trees bear fruit.
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January 2012

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