moon over ocean

Obsession at Moonrise

Every drop of me
Has been the sea.
I feel the tide pull still
When the autumn moon swims high,

When the clams dig deep in the
Damp sand,
And the whitecaps claw the shores,
Black currents tugging them away…

I churn
In the black-tide nights.
October clouds obscure in gusts
His luminescent face,
I draw
Into my watery self,
Slapping with salty fingers
The carnal groping of the land.

I feel myself
Swept up
Circlets of silver round my waist,
An ocean bound into a waterspout,
Drawn up, as if to kiss the moon.

I need to throw my pale, wet arms
About his ivory neck,
And let him yoke my body
To the stars.

I splash up,
Wings of silver foam
Leaping at the horizons purple seam—
Following him as he rises
Slipping out of the curves of the sea.

I swell in darkness,
A vast obsidian bulge
Writhing beneath him as he,
Arcs across the sky
And I never touch
His parched white face.


From shards of me,

The skin I never wore

Fused chromosomes, the pattern

Not the plan,

Blood from my veins

The seed he spilled

Somewhere the smith within my womb

Forged you.

Pounding with the hammer of my heart,

Your head,

Your seamed-shut eyes,

Chisled your face,

Carved one by one

Your fingers and your toes.

Out of the molten me,

I cast you in my swollen forge

Till you were wet, red done.

You crawled outside to cool

In the white delivery room,

Expelling with your first hot scream

Atoms of me,

Screaming, howling,

Till only you remained.


sahara desert



Salute to St. Mary of Egypt

(Who wandered naked in the desert for thirty years before she was relieved (with holy communion) by a pious monk)

Bare-assed naked she walked.

It was hotter than hell,

and doubtless she wondered if  heaven

was really worth the wait.

After seventeen years her clothes rotted off—

Little by little she was shedding

Holy scraps across the sands.

Pious pilgrims later extracted them

With tweezers,

(and accidentally, the sleeve

of a passing heathen camel thief).

She remembered

her whorehouse days in Alexandria,

all that cool, cool wine….

then she paid an ugly woman

to fan the sweat off her slender back—

how cool she had been

till she found God.

Why had she gone along

when that caravan of pilgrims

asked her to come along—

that caravan of holy men.

She smiled at the sand,


Sometimes a hot wind

made her think how God had pushed,

had blown her back, away from his synagogue

while she tried harder to get in….

God didn’t want her taking care of orphans,

or sick old women, no

God said, Mary go out in the desert

and wander around.

And so she had.

For thirty years.

Sometimes the camels in the distance

looked like men she’d known.

Sometimes better,

if the mirage was hot enough

to raise the holy fever in her head.

Her skin, when she dared to look,

was like old leather,

like the purses of merchants full of coins.

Had she become a purse

of holiness?

She was tired of eating lizards,

Tired of begging for sour yogurt

From foul mouthed camel drivers.

Now she had nothing to trade

With men.

Sainthood comes hard when the sand is hot.