Walt Whitman and the Legal Composting of the Dead (20210411)

out of the ground
i steal a bucket of soil
from a previously dug hole
a now healed over wound
in the loamy earth

my theft is to make
a small amount of clay
not even a handful
an artistic experiment

(this is science)
extraction
solution
excitation
suspension
filtration
refinement

(this is magic)
ritual
burial
inspiration
reformation
resurrection

my breath is the breath
of my ancestors
and yours
my hands dig and mix and form
this clay
this body of our ancestors
what whitman has assumed
i have assumed

someone’s at the door (20210408)

deer scratches the front of his narrow face
with a dirty hoof– (do they
have hooves)–leaving a smear of mud
on the bridge on that long
long nose

–what you need, he says,
is a set of antlers
i’d lend you mine but i’m
using them right now

he shrugs, or tries to
his shoulder blades aren’t made
for fake apologies

i toss him an apple anyway
he catches it out of the air
the way my dog might
and bounces away like his legs
are made of pogo sticks

wolf has not let go of my wrist
and leers up at me
smile frothy with his saliva
my blood

–personally, he says
i would have waited
until he helped you out
before wasting that apple

but wolf would not have
exchanged my hand
for the apple
and deer has got his own thing
going on
and as wolf’s teeth sink deeper
i shrug, or try to
it seems my shoulder blades aren’t made
for fake apologies
either

around the clock (20210407)

while the rain falls
i wait for each drop
to ascend

i wait for the bark to grow
in the center of the trees
pith and heartwood tangling
like strand of hair
hiding the truth about growth
about the scab of time
about the lie of it

i wait for the clock
not to rewind
not to stand still
but to ring its alarm bell
to show that every
second of every minute
of every day happens
here and now

i wait and single drop
reverses course
singing as it rises

religious experience on easter (20210404)

the forest god
makes an appearance

this time triumvirate
an earth mother
flanked by muscle
that always accompanies
true sacredness

the grass bends under her step

did you think she
would leave no trace
no evidence

she asks no questions
gives no answers
not even hints
only long meaningless stares

she is gone
the ground thumping
like the hollow log
that it is

open handed (20210401)

separate neatly skin from muscle
more finesse required than i offer
with a single hand
the second an object of dissection
inspection perhaps retaliation

are these bones robot parts
unfinished machines sensitive to
heat pain inflammation
infection inflection

the dictionary squeezed
until only ashes drift down
ashes like snow
ashes like dehydrated tears
ashes like ashes