The Body

Sotto Voce

To strip away this incessant chatter,
yes, but what lies underneath it?

Death, of course, or our fear of death.
Which is why we talk so much,

bury our heads in books, turn forests
into pages and pages into mirrors

in which we see ourselves appear
and disappear. When I look up

from the story I've been reading
about the Jews in Nazi Germany

and the silence that closed their
mouths forever, I see a girl outside

the cafe smiling in at her father
who smiles back but cannot hear her.

An Exchange between the Fingers and the Toes

Cramped, you are hardly anything but fidgets.
We, active, differentiate the digits:
Whilst you are merely little toe and big
(Or, in the nursery, some futile pig)
Through vital use as pincers there has come
Distinction of the finger and the thumb;
Lacking a knuckle you have sadly missed
Our meaningful translation to a fist;
And only by the curling of that joint

A small anatomy of feeling

That which installs itself in the mind embraces sound

rounding the fecund earth

Birth, as in what is not, as in one makes one,
is a mighty absence to understand

(and there are those who fail to get their lessons done)

Dun is the color of submission

Unfledged, she leafs through what has been nothing never
Never to be what she is/ or could /or hope to be
Bewitched by dictions (fictions) on the surface —

Face naming that which she must save, polished like an apple —

A treatise on painting

... some days ago I saw the picture of an Angel who, in making the Annunciation, seemed to be trying to chase Mary out of her room with movements showing the sort of attack one might make on some hated enemy; and Mary, as if desperate, seemed to be trying to throw herself out of the window. Do not fall into errors like these.

— Leonardo da Vinci
It is time to speak of the lies
of images, omissions, insertions —

imitations of reality,

but whose reality, Leonardo?

For you she’s in nature —

A Terre

Sit on the bed; I'm blind, and three parts shell.
Be careful; can't shake hands now; never shall.
Both arms have mutinied against me,—brutes.
My fingers fidget like ten idle brats.

I tried to peg out soldierly,—no use!
One dies of war like any old disease.
This bandage feels like pennies on my eyes.
I have my medals?—Discs to make eyes close.
My glorious ribbons?—Ripped from my own back
In scarlet shreds. (That's for your poetry book.)