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
And the whitecaps claw the shores,
Black currents tugging them away…
In the black-tide nights.
October clouds obscure in gusts
His luminescent face,
Into my watery self,
Slapping with salty fingers
The carnal groping of the land.
I feel myself
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
Pounding with the hammer of my heart,
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,
Till only you remained.
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
(and accidentally, the sleeve
of a passing heathen camel thief).
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.
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
She was tired of eating lizards,
Tired of begging for sour yogurt
From foul mouthed camel drivers.
Now she had nothing to trade
Sainthood comes hard when the sand is hot.