Indoor Activities

A Time of Bees

All day my husband pounds on the upstairs porch.
Screeches and grunts of wood as the wall is opened
keep the whole house tormented. He is trying to reach
the bees, he is after bees. This is the climax, an end
to two summers of small operations with sprays and ladders.

Last June on the porch floor I found them dead,
a sprinkle of dusty bugs, and next day a still worse
death, until, like falling in love, bee-haunted,
I swept up bigger and bigger loads of some hatch,
I thought, sickened, and sickening me, from what origin?

Sonnets Uncorseted

1

She was twenty-two. He was fifty-three,
a duke, a widower with ten children.

They met in Paris, each in exile from
the English Civil War. Virginal

and terrified, still she agreed
to marry him. Though women were mere chattel

spinsterhood made you invisible
in the sixteen hundreds. Marriage was arranged

— hers a rare exception. Despite a dowry
a woman never could own property.

Your womb was just for rent. Birth control
contrivances — a paste of ants, cow dung

In the Reading Room

Alone in the library room, even when others
Are there in the room, alone, except for themselves:
There is the illusion of peace; the air in the room

Is stilled; there are reading lights on the tables,
Looking as if they're reading, looking as if
They're studying the text, and understanding,

Shedding light on what the words are saying;
But under their steady imbecile gaze the page
Is blank, patiently waiting not to be blank.

Netflix Green Man

Netflix the Green Man and any screen
becomes a vineyard. Episodes cluster
and climb, trellis narrative. Between
the corn and lichen, creepers muster

nine lives. They grow, divide, and splice,
steal scenes by running fox grape, bittersweet,
return on any handheld device
as moonseed, woodbine, dodder, buckwheat —

false buckwheat — note, though star- and heart-shaped.
He trucks some mascot for our kids, glad-hands
a sidekick dressed to burrow, root, and take
them through their lessons rattling dad’ s

Somewhere Thuban Is Fading

We enrolled at barbizon
Knowing full well
We’ d never look like
What was promised
Cue carol of the bells
Cue a demo on the casio
And the security of two-way
Escalators setting the speed
Those early mornings
In our mall school
The store’ s silver grills
Some mannequins left
Half-clothed
We’ d taunt them
With our imagined summers
In london paris rome
We weren’ t please and thank you
Walking with books on our heads
No we were going to devastate
Greek shipping heirs

Windows

From this height
the sunset spans the whole world
before me: houses and trees are shadows
neon flares between them like sudden fire
the freeways run, always
strangely vacant with riderless cars
empty air

the windows up here
refract the blue slate and rose light
making the hills on the horizon collide
with ideas of Sussex, piedmont
or the cold clear wind of the Abruzzi
but that is never what is out there.

Necessities

In through our bedroom window, the full dawn-scape concusses.
Difficult to sustain sleep's equilibrium of wordlessness.
Naming anything, like stepping barefoot in wet sand up to my ankles.
Name after name, sinking me farther beneath waking's buoyancy.

House, this morning, is pale with the rush of what night siphoned off.
Objects, still emptied of resemblance, hum their chord-less cantos.
Bloodless, my knuckles knock on walls without echo, testing singularities.

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