my sweetest tooth

i’ve learned, recently, to
clamp my mouth shut on this,

to press my teeth together
in a bubblegum sort of frown
and

stay low, like a tiny,
plastic soldier, crouched atop
his frosted cake

guarding his heart
with a bb gun
that goes

POP! POP!

             (but i’m struck, anyway)

pinned against the idea of ‘love’
and the likes of you,

against sweet, sticky memories,
resting in my palm

like a tongue on mango rice.

but i’m letting go now, i’ve decided –
i am resolute after all your silence,
your refusal to love me back.

[and how dare you not love me back.
how could you?]

i sink back,

slowly,

into a bouquet of synonyms
for hurts and words like pastry
puffery

and I roll them against my chapped lips,
trying to get down to the center of it:

the center of me,
that solitary and sweet place.

singular

how about it’s me.
how about it’s my face,
my mouth watering,
my hands faltering

to get back to it

back to my
bedside, alone and
between the sheets

with
me.

only my lips, my cheeks and
eyes. my words, murmuring,
lulling me down
towards sleep,

where I might
dream in a crisp, cracked
sort of black and white,

a
simplicity of all efforts
and expenditures
leading me back,

bringing me
back, to a balancing
point

of wholeness.

iowa

I let his memory pull me, push me and prod me
like a slow, sinking gunshot. I feel the familiar. this
dramatic
intake of breath,
then release,

everything lost in

the sound while I slacken . I, a punctured sandbag,
hissing while the dust rises above me.
the sand streaming out from between my shoulders,
gathering at my feet.

here, I let it wash over me while I lay myself down atop the grass,
feeling the yellowing stalks as they crowd against my skin,
wheat bending like a certain
kind of withering
right
in the center of my gut:
center of the seed, where it hit me.

where he hit me
with it, years ago

right

where it all began.

birdwatching while seated

the birds in hawaii warble and sing,
all dipping into the garden to steel my seeds.

every color, they hide themselves
amongst the branches

and I watch them tilt forward and fall
like men jumping from planes:

all in a row. all eyes open and bold and
letting their wings catch,

carry them

like a sufi poem,
sung out into the failing light.

what must that feel like? falling
so far

with the confidence that you’ll pull
yourself up and out of the dive,
just in time?

what grace, I think to myself, what courage.

I watch them in silence, delighting in
every roll and dive of the finches,
the japanese white eyes,
the great shama thrush.

all small acrobats, tumbling
without a net.