From the Summer of Smoke
and Indigo, On an Evening Off
You left your socks out to dry on the line last night. They came in freckled
with pale ash. The house you live in aches for its family. Their domino cat
lives between your ankles, hunts in raspberry shade where no-see-‘ems drift
among motes over smoke-dried raspberries black on the stem.
You crunch roasted seaweed between your teeth, peel withered ginger.
You have amphibious bones, frog’s lungs, you mudflat-walker, you.
Down into the lake with you. The water’s run through with copper — electric.
Let that water flow into those dry bones, wet down those lo-fi friction-fired
knuckles, knees, wrists. None of your imported sand, no, none of your
filled-in landfill land, none of your coastal salt or cedar shadow or salmon
running out of breath — not that your visitor’s eyes can settle on.
You trust — fall into green deeps, catch yourself, laugh up your first gasp of air.
Dislocated, you float under the dragon-breath wind, ballpeen-beaten resonation
soundscape in polished copper waves, surface tension gauge. Cradled or no.
How long since you have been alone?
There’s a new fire growing over the mountainside,
says the bristle-chinned old man at the crook of the road as you roll near
on a borrowed bike. Dripping with stolen lake water, you say you heard
it’ll rain soon, tonight or tomorrow. A make-real prayer. He nods. You go.
Tomorrow, you will feed the indigo, pour water over your shirt
and sing soft chorus among women with blue hands.
Consider copper, overwrought, bitten into
brittle twists by toothless hinge-jawed grip,
tuning pin thumb-split.
Pre-existing conditions: anhedonics in harmonics,
asymmetry of resonance, cerebellum as coral bloom,
simmering frog, moonphase mosaic in need of grout,
forehead acoustics. Out of tune.
Soft as nocturnal hum, his thumb
plucks a wincing diminished fourth
from out my shoulder.
“You gotta get a tuner in to look at this birdcage of yours.”