In the kitchen I am always cooking for the queen
She will notice the singe in my butter
She will see the specks of herb among the tomato
And think the beans over cooked –
But she will not know the way the rosemary prickled my palms or the
Sting of that slipped knife under my skin –
The tang of that old
Memory that hovered in the steam
As I stirred
My secret smile
I will watch carefully now each of the corners
It’s in everything I give you – the world.
I quaver, finding the right note
Sliding treble then flat
Voice rising up and grabbing at constellations then falling to the
Out there beyond the breakers where the water darkens as if it recognizes the night
And toxic stars can’t shed their dust
Darkness or that pitch of
Air and fabric
Scape of sound
Frantic over every molecule of you
Just in case what poisoned me
Will poison everything.
These voices I use for you
Might kill you, too.
He won’t believe me,
this boy who saw glass
melted flame hot
spun stretched and blown –
All those fish that swam over it
lived among it, died with it between their teeth
so we make windows, bottles, lenses
from opaque time.
Out there, the sea keeps kneading it
even without earshot
and spreading it out
that sea so clear
it gifts it name to glass.
For the children, really
– like this unbeliever –
so they can see.
Spread out your hands against me
and breathe so softly
babies will not wake
needing to be held
(just as I do)
listen to all that darkness
where we are no longer alone.
And sometimes – I will tell you – I sat and waited for the washing to dry
in the last slit of sunlight
before the cold comes cramping down
birds go mad with last calls
the neighborhood is magnified
(a child sings and slams a door and the song stops sudden:
not so the dogs who take the opportunity
to stretch their voices out to moonrise)
and the frost whores all over everything –
leaving thrills of ice like algal bloom on the sheets, on the hedges and fences and flowers
and on the shoes left on our window sill.
All our love, my dear and small footprints in your own morning.
May the birds call out your name and all your dogs come home.