Truth and Violence Carved My Baby Out of Stone
A simple admixture: my baby bleeds beer. Back down
the trivial runnels, a spine thatched like an orchard,
like rows of vines, like a citrus grove where the moth comes
powdery in dust and ash, an envoy from mother’s lips.
What words do you have to bless us with today? My baby,
my baby, my baby. My baby prays on bended knees
to the solemn god of boreholes and deep wells,
to meadowlarks mistaken for mourning doves,
their shot-riddled breasts like a smoky question mark
in the late afternoon sky. Who forgets us? What
crosshairs stumble across our chests? My baby wants
to know. My baby wants to be fed. Handfuls of the good stuff.
Mulched leaves, brown pine needles, dirty radishes
with their wiry roots dangling like the hair of an old man’s scalp.
My baby is just a baby. Too young to sing, too old to suck
a thumb. My baby got cut by a hatchet trying to break wood
and roast hotdogs over a fire somewhere in the far North
where the sky creeps into gray being. A slow crawl
across the hemisphere. My baby skips river stones. Whispers,
don’t make me love you, to the dewed earth, the cinquefoils,
to every vista point on the side of the highway with a nice view
and an informative map. This is how my baby gets there:
traces a route across veiny forearms. This is warm fluid
splashed across those channels. Those tattoos. Don’t make me
love you. Don’t make this a song. My baby bites a lip,
blooms a red mouth. My baby does cartwheels in the hushed night.
Plays cards with the boys. Drinks a wet glass of whisky. Pounds
the summer away. With headaches and two-by-fours. Stares
out the window of a plane at a desperate city desperately spreading
like lichen on a rock. My baby counts the space between fingers.
Palm on the forehead. Mouth to mouth in a summer squall.
Soft rain like ecstatic tears. My baby is the scars rising from
our chests. A bird flying backwards in a storm. A scaleless
trout flopping on the edge. A haunted memory, an opaque
future. My baby looks down at the valley with clear
open eyes. Offers a tongue. My baby is you. My baby is me.