Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Elegy of Dirt

I remember the day I found a girl embedded in the dirt
underneath the oleander shrub where I used to bury
the pewter and ivory trinkets I found
in the attics and basements of abandoned houses, the sadness
of her bones alone with me in the dark
chrysalis of branches, bright points
of metatarsal light gleaming under the starry blooms like the points
of a compass rose on the sad map of dirt.
all summer long they searched for her in the dark
designs of the earth, countless family pets reburied
along with pits of garbage and the caked bulbs of flowers, sadness
seemed to hang on everything they found,
dirt weighed down every green thing sprouting in the fields, but they only found
the private plots of one another, the rusted points
of nails, misshapen pieces of wood, the forgotten sadnesses
of unknown families and children grown up and gone, preserved by the dirt
and its depressions. I wondered how many other girls the dirt had buried
in the outposts of the big cities, the hardpan of deserts, in the dark
clefts of mountains, the white shards of bones in the dark
fossil record of the earth forming a constellation of endless bodies waiting to be found.
I thought of every living thing I had buried,
the clammy body of an animal I found along the canal,
its tender domed head a tiny pointed
skull, its pink nose a cavity packed with seeds and dirt,
the clean gleam of the spade packed my sadness
into its tomb of dirt, and the crumbling dirt under my hand leveled the sadness
with the earth. Alone in the dark
at night some times I would dream of girls crawling out of the dirt
walking the plots, ghostly white, where they were found
the ball and socket joints of their skeletons glowing points
floating and bobbing along an infinite train of girls waiting to be buried
the mystery of what the dirt has buried
lighting up the earth like the synchronicity of lights at dusk in the city, the sadness
of the solitary vista banished with each point
of light switching on along the grid in the dark
valley below, when the familiar pattern of your own home is found
and you get back in your car and leave behind the cold certainty of the dirt
this morning I found a tender green bud pushing out of the dark
plot where I buried that animal over twenty years ago, like a tiny pointed finger.
Sometimes the rich sadness of dirt overwhelms me.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I Die

I'm murdered from time to time in my dreams,
by a stranger in an all night laundromat,
I'm folding clothes in the flickering light
when I notice him casually walking in
through the only door out. There is something
between us, a familiarity in
the way he stares as I feed the machines
quarters and clothes, that makes me afraid when I
realize there are no windows in this room,
and we are stuck like that for a long time, both
knowing what we intend to do, but not
yet moving.