Friday, November 17, 2006

Molting (a prophecy)

1. Hermit Crab

The picture carried in my wallet is worn out—
crease turned black, edges frayed, corner ripped,
but increasingly agreeable.
A memory like cracked glass,
paint thinner poured over a favorite oil portrait—
the colors hemorrhage.
Someone has written on the back in red ink,
suffering is holy.

In the picture I was only sixteen,
drunk on inhibition.
They gave me a license anyway,
waved hands vaguely in the region of…
Do whatever you think is best.
Buy a sports car, use a condom.

(I thought nothing was best.)
Awake and not—
I lay on dirty sheets/twin bed,
birthed the sensation of never landing—
cryptic night presence,
skin pale in walled isolation,
the need for plummets to breathe.

Always searching for some new shell.

2. Garden Snake

Walking with/in her fingers,
under the boisterous sun on the beach,
my skin collapses, sloughs off,
her touch chars prints of my identity.

I seemed destined for colder climes—
Ocean corners, Midwest blizzards.
A bottom-dweller for whom light has no meaning.
A withered codger sipping coffee from a paper cup
as the outdoor children build a snow fort.

In a quiet condo,
away from the 5 freeway,
green with long rain gutters along the roof,
the water will not touch us.
We sit and talk on overstuffed couch,
the comfort of being mutually found,
sleep better during the day,
wake as the sun surrounds the curtains.

Sometimes basking in the flowerbed.

3. Albatross

The picture is scanned and digitally altered,
crease removed, edges brightened, corner straight.
I have captioned it:

On the day after Thanksgiving
I wasn't thankful enough.
Hands in pockets, I perch on the mall's escalator,
watch the pretty girls shop,
how they move,
the way their hair holds light.
All of them memories.

I worry that not enough know how beautiful they are.
A secret to be shared over Spaghetti Bolognese,
chianti, round candles.
How beautiful,
this ignorance.
I cannot tell them.

Not flying again until pinfeathers
push the dead fluff away.