Down by the River
El muro cano
Va a imponerme su ley, no su accidente.
She dies in a local flurry of dismay
as kittens do, held steady in a pail
of icy water,
never what I intended, more a case
of inattentiveness than grief or rage,
I held her in the current, fingers wound
with shift and slither.
It wasn’t personal. It wasn’t something planned.
I let her slip away, then stood, alone,
forgetting how the mind will travel far
to catch itself in blood and narrative:
a little thing; not mean, but
local, like a dustfall
or a blinding,
thought burning out in the eyes and the afterwards
that lasts too long,
like cinders in the rain.
It wasn’t personal; I only saw
the logic in the moment of my bidding,
a slow tide, like the pull of earth and sky
that gripped her in my hands, and held her down,
inevitable, known but unforeseen,
imposing neither chance, nor accident.
Day of the Dead
It’s the corpse-groom
who holds my attention:
out of his wedding night
with the moth-eaten bride,
he’s pledging his troth, by default,
to a marzipan doll
with eyes that no longer
remind him of someone else;
and, happy to be free
of hope and fear,
he listens for the wind
that snakes across
the asphalt, hymns
and ghost towns in its wake
and silence trailing after, like the sleep
he thought would end
in sugarcraft and satin.