While the moon stoops in the early April sky,
I fold paper into a tragic crane. One magician
burns sand, another palms a tree. My crane
flickers her lovely neck and weeps. After the fire,
everything smelled of chartreuse, a red that
guttered in the neighbor’s dreams. A piano
turns bodies magnetic with music. I want to break
myself like egg for you, to pool in gold and lost.

In another city, we would call this flood.
Instead it is just rain, housefuls of it
making pockets of the shore. The waves fume.
Some feverish belly,
a lit mouth through the window.
Bridge, umbrella, a better November.
We want crisis. Childhood without the sugar castle,
the forest of birds. Seven nationalities yoked
together in this cavern,
we are frantic with love.
I am the slack one, eating a plum without washing
it and writing a song for Hagar waiting
with bare mouth to kiss the ankle
of soil. Every war is a fete
and the thunder parrots itself.
Below find rivers dappled with trash, white
and blue, find the water
puckering in sewers that tumbles,
licks our sneakers. Parchment family,
we meet where the wood darkens, ash
powdering our fingertips like kohl.
Always, a television flickers. Theater beneath the glass,
it is kaleidoscope. It is kaleidoscope.
They die, they are always dying,
pleating tin to scrape bone from pavement.
In the garden beneath timber, I brush my hair.
The American boys practice their Arabic.

It does not retreat, your kiss of bacteria. Wounded,
too. No brown is black, not even in the dark.

Darling scorpion. Seamstress,
are you blind?

Women love you. Sexier than crab.
You teethe on jasper. Amber drowns you. Marsflung.

I will kill you, at forty,
with an umbrella. The wrong end of it.

If you sting, it will be a love.
If you do not sting, it will be a love.

See how we have forgiven you everything?

At the water’s border
you are cupping sand for crafted forests.

Evergreen, evergreen.

I sang to you about wings, seeds,
January. I skull your absence

with six months.

This is how the ocean rises,
lavender blue as it rains.

Sketch my lips on paper.
The open-

mouthed sigh when your brother
lit the paper lanterns

and we released them into the
Christmas sky.

We watched the colors,
then went inside to the burning wood.


And in Iraq, Fires

Additional Selected Works (links)