Every Cloud Has a Life of Its Own
Knife dreams of stone and wire of edge, curling upon itself, wire, once burnished away, reveals the sinuous and bright word of cutting, the long tongue of scar tasting bitter orange, laceration stained hibiscus flowering, rain sluiced into the bay, sweltering cauldron, broth of migrations. We did not dwell, ephemeral precludes habitation, residency is the privilege of those less soluble, less phosphorescent , we left no trace, no photographs, not even ash, mouthfuls of sunset and the shimmy of gossamer night unfolding every horizon. Room could not contain, windows being more than apertures, points of egress where we vanished into the breathing of sea, iron bellied clouds concealed as weather, tide of carrying, tide of shell calling us by name, those once lost, those who could not remain. Voice at the ear, voice of the cloud, swirling through palms as wet prairie opens itself in a supplication of frog singing lit by lightning, sleepless wet season, irrigation ditches filling with water not yet dark, not yet caramelized, our names flow through creeks, cypress knees, long plumes of moss licking the surface as we make our way out to the flashing jacks, silvered mullet, tangle of mangrove, leaves salt frosted and blazing verdure. Accompanied by gifts, shelf clouds piling on shore, white feathered egrets, slivers of lightning, the low glide of pelicans, we receive more than we can make in return, we name more than we can remember, endless recitation against erosion, we are bound to voice of tide, of wind, raucous calls of rookeries where our dreams slowly feather, singing their way into flight, drawing us from roof and door, returning us to a world without habitation, without the naming of place, tides of giving washing our bones smooth as wave, moon bright, curling in the mouth of conch, relentlessly. Speaking of Home, Beyond the Wind All thaw and sweltering, not yet season of moonflower or sphinx moth, sleeping by day, dreaming of manatees, buoyant in the spring, blue flow silvered with schooling jacks, jumping mullet, boiling white sand, living by the light of a cold flame, speaking to the mirrored burning, lost as we are, on the margins, talking to the moon in less dangersous than conversations with men, which is more dangerous than swimming with alligators, shadows treading water, elegant logs with shining eyes, the weather here is affectionate full of heat and damp, thunderstorms brewed up for the taste of coldness. Lightning licking its way through cypress and pine, the dog wedges herself under the table as the cracking approaches, sizzling despite the rain, gouging out long strands of bark from the pine next door, waiting for this, bursts of illumination wind straining at the oak, a song out of darkness, an answering voices, a defiance of what would deny us the everyday gentleness and motion of tide, nightgown soaked, shiver in my voice, the dog is not amused at any venturing out in the rain. Some can't abide tangle and clutter of thicket, slash of straight line wind and deadfall, shaggy cabbage palms or the wicker woven arms and knees of mangrove, some can't abide that their god has not yet struck us down, or caust us from the precipice, or that we are not afraid, having known the song of the blade for so long we have become the flowering no edge will part from the earth, the vine that will not fail, the fox sleeping in the shade of oak and cedar, a wave rolling out of the Gulf no fence will restrain, no hand will push down, no prayer will deny that we are such as we are, wind in our hair, sea in our eyes, fragmented and worn, we too will add our shells to this shore, to the constant arrival of tide and star of moon and sun, to the constant repetition of the litany of belonging. Flat Water, not anguish, lifts oaks the first steps of flight, yet leaves cannot overcome the heaviness of memory, so much despair soaked into the aquifier drawn forth, hydraulics of root, trunk and limb, beyond the trees blanket flower, railroad vine, gulls facing windward, waves stacked on sandbar Brittle is how the tooth cracks, blade chips on bone, the self shatters, shards pooling on the floor, resolve to endure vanishing as cold sets in, warmth flowing out, body anticipating the glide into quietude. Arc flows through a line in the sand, it is a far shore, sea flowing from here to there, a woman inscribes glyphs in the sand, what is mending, the cup once broken becomes new, the shell remade speaks of a ghost, without hymn or prayer we are without, unattached against sun and rain. When you're small and want to vanish but don't know how, there's no way to see how you'll learn to turn the pain inside out and eat it like an orange or how fifty years will pass, the hard cold breath of morning cracking sternum, memory will come, as stealthy as wind as the taste of the sea ever on the tongue salt and the swell of wave, tide washing through lacerations, scars forming a text, a chart of what horizon long ago swallowed, submerged lands. A drowning that returned you, moon pale, a form that cannot leave the sea, facing oaks and pine, palms open in supplication, beyond the treeline an orange burning, a brighter flame filling the sky, a wind darker than crow, the only tongue between us being glyphs inscribed in sand, lifted from the body, unlaced from skin, visible only to sea and moon, tide erasing each word before barnacled memory solidifies the text of departure, form dissolving into wave.