A gauze bandage wraps the land
and is unwound, stained orange with sulfites.
A series of slaps molds a mountain,
a fear uncoils itself, testing its long
cool limbs. A passing cloud
seizes up like a carburetor
and falls to earth, lies broken-
backed and lidless in the scree.
Acetylene torches now snug
in their holsters, shop-vacs
trundled back behind the dawn.
A mist becomes a murmur, becomes
a moan rising from dust-choked
fissures in the rocks, O pity us,
Ignatz, O come to us by moonlight,
O arch your speckled body over the earth.
There are twenty-seven feathers.
There are fifteen
feathers on the right
shoulder blade, twelve on the left—
down the back. When I say
feathers, I mean to say
lines. Undulating lines,
more like hair than like feathers,
since, unlike feathers,
these lines do not convey
a ruched or corrugated effect,
as might be rendered
by layered tiers of scallops,
or by a fingered edge. Instead of lines
I might more precisely
have said cuts—
discontinuous cuts, dotted with blood clots.
at the clots
like mayflies, as one imagines the blade
snagging in the skin,
where the cuts
cross one another. Mayflies, too,
are winged, but
no one wants them,
unless to convey a sense
of the ephemeral: a fan
of surface scratches
that splay across the shoulders
but do not break
exhortatory, inviting one to read
the underlying cuts as
dimensional, on the verge
of lifting out of the skin, unfurling
above the shoulders,
lines of blood
fleshing themselves, then
in strength and mass
rivaling the body, muscle-bound,
to give them birth.
Then one day she noticed the forest had started to bleed into her waking life.
There were curved metal plates on the trees to see around corners.
She thought to brush her hand against his thigh.
She thought to trace the seam of his jeans with her thumbnail.
The supersaturated blues were beginning to pixellate around the edges, to
become a kind of grammar.
Soot amassed in drifts in the corners of the room.
She placed a saucer of sugar water under her lamp and counted mosquitoes
as they drowned.
A soft brown dot loomed large in her concern.
She pressed her thumb into the hollow of his throat for a while and then let
Star maps of broken capillaries:
crown of infrared
song of drifting dune
The smooth-boled trees of his interior
blossoming and unblossoming:
"I spent six days almost touching you."