13 May 2009

DéLana R. A. Dameron

[from DéLana R. A. Dameron's How God Ends Us, University of South Carolina, 2009]

Body, an Elegy

    Suddenly the body says night.
                                  Cyrus Cassells

The body is not
an insomniac, some
twilight sleepless walker.
It turns to lie down
as it pleases, at times
against your will.

The body chooses
its separate departures
to backrooms of the house.
Goodnight heel, boomerang
of bone and tendons.
Goodnight feet, arch-less
pestle-crush of earth.

The doctors come
to chop you down
and cover you with strips
of white linen. See,
your legs, your trunks
of redwoods stripped
of their flesh bark
are endangered. Goodnight
kidney, fallen already
to a deep coma,
needing machines to eat
and drink. For it,
there is no waking.

Your left arm long
retired and under the
sheets. Uncle, lay
your perfect right
that never knew shunt
or needle, lay it down
so the I.V. can land. Together,
we say goodnight to the heart
that has failed you once.

But the eyes, they refuse.
Your mouth does not
wish to go so soon. So
speak your farewells, Uncle.
Speak your hundred more
farewells. Watch this holy
body of birds flap
across your window.

The Leaving

If we had time enough, my left hand
would float to the nape of your neck,
smooth the globe knot I imagine
as jade or something cool to touch.

If we could stay in this microcosm
called summer, my tongue would traverse
the terrain just behind your ear. It would
curl to the vale below the apple, flicker
the landscape, lap the salt and delight.

This rapture would be called morning.
I would hesitate to walk from our secluded
universe, sweat careening the creases

like a river where your lips taste --
and you wait with figs and persimmons.

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