4.10 / October 2009


Our house was a body
cinderblock feet, a gauge for a heart
limbs leading out of the furnace belly
puffing warm air through white
mouths in our bedroom walls

I was afraid of the furnace room
its missing ceiling
a skeleton of wood and wire
I thought the entire world began down there

Eleven years old and I had to count everything
eleven sips of milk before bedtime
eleven strokes of a brush in my hair
water ticking eight, nine, ten
under the faucet’s glowing light

The furnace room was dark red
the color of blood before oxygen
hits, turns it brilliant, bright

Standing by the riveted tank
I heard life sounds from upstairs
two floors of a family’s beating hearts
feet padding to mailbox, television, phone
receiving transmissions
from places we believed existed


We pour, empty to the sea
rivers from our mouths
clear vodka bottles
basements full of living girls

Rivers from our mouths
ice cubes in our teeth
basements full of living girls
we are the jeweler’s loupe

Ice cubes in our teeth
we are thick with crowns
we are the jeweler’s loupe
his dark velvet bags

We are thick with crowns
hair, fingers, legs
his dark velvet bags
we learn them all in time

Hair, fingers, legs
drag across bright skin
we learn them all in time
our burned out river beds

Drag across bright skin
clear vodka bottles
our burned out river beds
we pour, empty to the sea


There is no record of the sounds you made, no catalog
of sighs I might flip through, circle with red pen
yes, that’s the one — play it for me

It’s true some things have changed
but mostly the world stays where you put it
ideas still bounce from our heads to our hands
we still sleep as if sealed in a tin, the kind
you wind back with a key in the morning

This is what I know so far —

1.   A necklace can’t hold the shape of a body once it’s removed

[the silver chain pools in my palm, mercury in the bulb of a glass thermometer]

2.   When I finally start looking for them, signs will be everywhere —

[minute hand trembling between one and two]
[dish towel crumpled in the sink]
[thin procession of ants across the kitchen floor]

4.10 / October 2009