Poetry

The Bottom Drawer

Tucked beneath my mother’s shirts
and camisoles, a paper bag
of prayer cards, I find

Walking, No Longer Your Patient

A decade after we burned through the mysteries
and you taught me cartography’s other dark

arts, I dreamed of you coming for a garden tea,
then held buoyant in the Gulf, your hair and muslin gown

The Cradles of St. Kilda

From 1850 to 1890 forty-one of fifty-six infants born on St. Kilda
in the Hebrides died of tetanus caused by the custom of anointing the umbilical stump with oil stored in the dried stomach of a goose.

Patient Belongings

i
Belongings: The short-sleeved blouse,
its paisley rayon desperate
to breathe light in your form;
the comb that hungers
for the pull of your hair;
the wristwatch, clicking in stir,

Edges

The deer stepped out in front of my car
so politely, as if to say is this a good time?
And it happened that it was,
perfectly timed between cars and patches of ice.
I braked. She stepped gracefully across

Anatomy Lesson

To understand the heart
you’ve got to memorize arteries, vessels,
and which goes where, which is red
and which is blue, what’s likely to pop open–

Carousel

The Pacific Ocean, to a child of three,
sounds like a push-broom in his mother’s kitchen.
Life took us elsewhere: like other boys, I learned

Word

The high sweep of waves, like the bulging arc
of a grand piano, and the silence of deer in a field of
lupine and trefoil, and the underthrum

May Cause

Take this, take it with crackers or bread. Do not. Do not. Do not
chew or crush. You are pregnant, may become pregnant, or are
breast-feeding.