From the Mouth of Kitsee’s Inlet
I. Arrow Point
Look: we have buried bodies here. Monuments
for relatives and former pets, or soon ourselves.
We create evidence of our own making:
memorabilia from old tools, language in loose soil.
Plants and people wilt in shade, planetary systems tilt
in predetermined phases. Diminishing bee collectives
scatter claustrophobic from hollow trees.
I'll soon grow extinct,
my limbs impersonating the leafless branches,
the cotton absent from the fields.
Are we to blame for clinging to our bodies, to each other?
In a field of yes, I feel the weight of asking.
Don't be afraid to gather your obsessions,
petal by petal, into your hungry mouth.
II. Finger Point
My sister's son buries fish bones at the mouth
of the empty inlet. “For next year's fish,”
he tells me in the same clearing
where his mother and I once gathered
jars of fireflies searching for sundown. Augusts ago,
rain-weight buckled the levee and we held our eyes
stretched open, nervous that the shore might never stop.
Now becomes nonverbal. Like rain water and white chickens,
my mother hoards barrels of five-minute floods
bleeding from greenhouse gutters. “For next year's food,”
she shows me. As I scour her garden for survival
to take with me, my dog kicks dirt from the flower beds
and I press my thumb and finger to my eyes,
nervous that I cycle through as visitor.
III. Wounded Man Reach
We wash our sins in cycles: absolution
from seed and shovel, thunder and traffic volume.
Rambling causeways, we intersect and we reverse
direction and shape. The endless act of revision.
I would have you without preoccupation.
No footing, no law of stable ground.
We stumble blind, thinking of ourselves
as being bodies and not as having bodies.
To make a shape is to deny all other shapes,
and if this weren't the case, what would making be?
Production here depends on pitch:
your foot and the vibration.
You don't have to listen to this hum,
but someone will.
IV. Medicine Man Reach
I prefer the gravel walkway, obsessed with the pull
when my feet sink down onto each satisfying crunch.
The wooden bridge to cut through the creek.
The path toward the garden,
away from the house. I'm wasting time,
studying manipulations of fencing. Rotating gardens
help the goats pull stubborn grasses, overlapping
seasons hold the chickens in a neutral flavor:
eggless and non-commercial. And I the consumer
have brought nothing with me.
Still, I need to eat. More bodies than I remember.
Like my last visit, I'm not here
to feed any of them, but I'm careful of where I step
once the gate swings closed behind me.
V. Hawk Cove
Bring me the field, the cautious visual
of blade and crown and root. A collaboration
between grass and heavy wind. Bring me
the volume of leaves, the limbs and larger branches
mimicking the awkward motion of waves.
Not the becoming, but the unbecoming of a thing.
No footing, no law of stable ground,
the succulent urge to survive
grows wider. My job here is to wait.
To listen, then to speak
as if it's autumn in my mouth
and all my tongue can do is rustle.
Permit me this recurring forfeiture.
I can offer nothing more than my starvation.
VI. Duck Cove
The goats are not for sale. We give names
only to those that are staying. I am only visiting,
but can't say for how long. My name is my father's name
because his name is his father's name. My name
is not my mother's name because her name is not her mother's name.
My mother's name keeps changing. My sisters
may too find other people who will expect their names to change.
We do not name the ducks because their bodies are for eating,
not for remembering. We remember the chickens' names
because we eat their eggs, not their bodies.
Only the eggs are for sale.
I am egg and I am body, and I am named
only because my mother found
the language to remember me.
VII. Waco Bay
Sibley's field guide, the distance to Quinlan in couplets.
A blended bough of humming under a culture of bees.
The southern stalemate of aloe and hickory.
Weeping Icarus: I search for my great blue heron.
Only two seasons prosper here: inside and outside.
And though they disagree, they overlap.
Maybe it's the shade of calmer water
or the skin that divides me from the waves:
the difference between content and container.
The surface is a place to pause, not to linger.
Resident mockery, grant me one more hour
to perfect my voice. Knowing no law of residence
I tread toward the groveling horizon, whisper:
Look what we are doing here. Look.