Bamboo Shoots

Before three days of rain,

your green bullet faces

barely poked through

sun-baked clay.

 

In the loam, below

late afternoon, I admire

ecstatic upturned palms

of radish sprouts

 

awaiting their Rapture.

Then I notice you,

now standing taller

than my head.

 

You are hollow

sentinels, black and lithe

as newborn crickets

chirping warnings

 

below my bedroom

window. This is a space

for which I am grateful

you have decided

 

to defend with your

eager lives, spear-straight,

into the slippery

panting night.

You Slid Out One Night in the Cold (No Note)

You leave so curiously;

I panic-pedal my bike

until dawn searching

this drunken town

for your scent,

your sarcastic chuckle

and pathetic beard.

 

My list of reasons for you

leaving if you had left

an itemized list:

the fiery car crash;

my shattered arm;

your jealousy;

and survivor’s guilt;

gone violent, wrong.

 

You’re long gone as am I.

To Texas or Iowa

because you always

liked the squenching

confines of leather.

To think I once believed

in us, how wildly I surrendered

and how, after ten solid years,

the heart yearns to return.

May Intoxication

Wisteria-like, you wind your fingers,

strong as a newborn,

across my chest. I wanted you

from the morning I watched your irises

slide beneath their Atlantic blue

to a gray-dappled horse

in my recurring dream.

Your tongue flicks smartly

as the garter snakes, sunning deftly

along my basement bricks.

So, my lashes drowse heavy

with the cottony lust of a first girl-

archaic; smeared in charcoal;

blazoned brighter beneath cinders

-than the nearest sun.Eastern Garter Snake

fridge magnet poem

dark spring

bluest in our garden

whispering

ballooning

under rain

Congaree Epiphany

To the five or so tiny

spiders, innocuous, pale

and curved as my fingernail,

please forgive me.

Unfounded fear mingles

with the dull throb of muscadine

wine, and a sigh of my paddle

sends your bodies plunging

below tannin-choked waters,

dark as chicory coffee. Between

a labyrinth of cypress knees,

I marvel when these exquisite

dancers soon surface,

buoyant miracles

pirouetting from the murk.

The Morning After

A dim click

in my brain rises

like the metallic,

 

salty bile jerking

from my chest

to the back

 

of my throat.

I am gyroscoping

toward the porcelain

 

comfort of toilet,

wretching past

the crack of ribs

 

until I am empty

as the first grimy

blooms of regret.

 

From somewhere

in the black, I know

the lump entombed

 

beneath pallid hotel

sheets is not you,

but before terror

 

rushes in, I place

my palms firmly

across naked breasts

 

and study his

silhouette of chin,

jutting nameless

 

as the snow-draped

Confederate grave

I decorated one

 

January morning,

splintered in light,

unseasonably warm.

Phytoplankton

As the Perseid meteors skitter across the island sky,

we don goggles and leave bathing suits on the shore.

 

You drag me past breakers until I no longer

feel the sure sand beneath me.

 

A panicked gasp for air before we dive will never

afford me enough time to marvel at the plankton,

 

clinging desperately to our hair and masks

like tiny phosphorescent comets.

 

Your grip may be crushing in the descent,

but I still perceive minute miracles,

 

creatures striving to illuminate a vacuum

black enough to drink us up.