Dot Devota
And The Girls Worried Terribly

I.

 

Splendid the time that laid eggs in our nest!

Bending to worship the self in thin winds. At the end of the stick

the disease of numb tongues

and yet, it was the end of the stick. I have only one lung.

Give me the others, each exhalation hell reaping the benefits.

 

And in the wrong poem is death, from which the beginning

is a frail dessert. Bees as lively as champagne bubbling from our flutes!

I leave the table and dig a circular grave beneath the peach tree,

then dig more circular graves the size of peaches

for the fruit that doesn’t get picked to fall in.

 

Children holler at us, the flowers are blooming!

chained pets leaning into the sun. The child I give birth to

otherwise inappropriate in the presence of the dead,

cauldron simmering our egos

breaking the skin of the porridge

and disappearing to speak of courage,

rescuing all future inadequacies.

 

Prying the eye apart, I begin

with the wrong poem—we toast,

 

To death!

And The Girls Worried Terribly

II.

 

To be invited you had to know us by our questions

fulfilling your promises by narrowly escaping each absence.

In the aftermath, hideous plant life

the gardener choking most rigorous of survivors.

 

He had to! It was written into our programs

dispersed by gentle hands of a breeze coming

from the penitentiary on the south side of town—we unlocked it

the community doing good work

unleashing free labor, my mismanaged consciousness

on its knees stuck in service. 

 

Today we release all felonies from their narrow intelligences

spooning out marrow from stronger bones.

 

The answer to “must we.”

And The Girls Worried Terribly

III.

 

When the rains refused

to speak to us we brought them herbs

for their throats, a cough syrup made of blisters

from holding the reins too tightly

welts we grew afraid of even as they healed.

 

Celebrations pray for good weather,

the poem turning in the wind like an embarrassed weathervane 

I held my woman

by the scarf around her neck and danced

I always pick the dullest clementines

my boots filling with insults making a mess of unswept floors

where foxes discover some rare crust

some ornament of blood like the family pearls

although my family has no blood to bead

they can out cuss rain on tin roofs

poisoned with a tea made from the barn’s collapsed rubble

the chorus drowning into formation

ocean colliding with hooves from small animals.

And The Girls Worried Terribly

IV.

 

The celebration song velvety as mist and oil mixing

clouds hung low in the clarinet

kids tearing at their feet like scabs

I delayed the music until further notice—

 

the girl burping up the name of her tribe

knelt over a natural drain occurring in the earth

 

with a hook and one wiry strand of gray hair

fishing for her wedding band.  The hole

was one darkness

and the worms nibbling like a pair of old married vultures

was another.  She could not rescue

a circle with half of another circle.

 

From behind we tugged on her purple bodice

startled she rose holding the lure

and growing from the foundation

a root she wrestled out from under a house.

 

I held a bouquet of flowers

petals clinging to its tightly woven net.