Ashes
I lied feathers to the backs of my eyes.
I lied the disaster, every crooked breath
of the tornado, every miracle gulp
of the flood, every nocturnal hurricane.
Some birds blew the wind to here
and there and a forest called tomorrow.
I lied our deaths in a mining accident
in the 1890s. I lied the very strings
of the corset I wore into the tunnel,
the dumb canary whistling its feathers purple.
I lied the nested darkness of time.
I lied the tadpole in the spring puddle
into a bald frog nobody wanted to touch.
The frog perched on a gravestone
that lied the afternoon gray. You were never
very pretty, I lied to my mother.
I’d shown up late in a night-ripped dress.
I was always in that dress, and you, my husband,
you were always lying about the plastic tides.
You lied about bears living in your backyard
when you were a frantic blond boy
flapping your hands at the humid dusk.
You lied the gap in your teeth, the scar
on your chin, the numbness in your
night-feathered fingers. Come down
from the sky. There is a toy house.
There is a little mouse. I lied the sea motif
of this eclipsed room. I lied ten gulls
on the telephone wire in front of the house.
I lied the neighbor peeping in the kitchen window.
 
Then one morning the light turned into a crow
that flew above the house and cawed,
and the caw was a frost that tangoed the grass to sleep,
and I wore a dress sequined like missing clouds,
and none of the tender roses cut my palm.
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