House, Garden, Madness Poem
Meeting his mouth made it so I had house again.
I called him garden and drew him so, grew
his long lashes like grasses so I could comb
them with my stare. Some evenings a low cloud
would arrive, hang its anxiety over the yard.
Having his mouth at mine again gave me back
home. The walls painted themselves blue,
flowers grew larger than my head, stared
at me with wide eyes through the windows.
I was surrounded. A cloud stretched gray arms.
His mouth and mine again built something back
up with heat. The house was home again, wherever
I lived. The flowers grew fat, fed on weeds
around them. Ladybugs tucked their red luck
beneath petals’ chins. The cloud came home again.
His eyes were closed but mine kept swinging open.
I saw him in the garden, surrounded by its light.
The flowers cut their own stalks, handed themselves
over to him in bunches. He kissed their bouquets,
and petals raptured. A cloud lowered, dark with fury.
I pressed my mouth to palm, closed my eyes
to find the garden, then saw: windows shut in fright,
roots drowned, flower stalks broken, their heads dead,
in puddles. Startled, I looked around. The cloud
descended, prepared to hemorrhage in my arms.
first published in The Paris Review, no. 158, Spring, Summer 2001
also from World’s Tallest Disaster