balasana (child’s pose)

she carries it in her hips:

an emotion

a longing the length unfurled
of the lined rings in sequoias

she carries it
with his intent
(sometimes
without permission)
in between

and through her lovers,
she carries it further
(sometimes her lover,
she carries it, too)
and resists that it sag down
or topple out

she notices it
when walking,
stubborn and obese
by the way others call out
and stalk or gaze
and fade away

sometimes she drags it
through
the largest widening
making room for
another in pain

she carries it
in a baby’s cry,
feels it against
her babe’s thighs

she carries it
whether she is called
mom or jane or
any self-given name

and it only rests
knees to chest
in the privacy
of the couch corner
or the bathroom sink

it funnels
to the crease of the paused book
when she’s done
being a woman for the day

when she can release
it,
shrinking slender into
the not-so-heavy
flanks of a girl

even alone,
what a woman carries
is not only hers

but of everyone she loved
and looked at
that day, that year
in all times, both
in fruitful deliverings
and arrivals unheard

en Route 1

we ride bikes through the sedges
t-shirts constrict on working muscles
bags weigh with stories to undress
we haven’t seen a mirror or bed in months
together we kite down a blanket
and dive in
I discover freckles on you
your mother never even knew you had
the slates of your shoulderblades
angle like the book cradled in my arms
writing poetry at the beach

I pack a picnic
you eat most of it
you plant a kiss on me
or is it a root for a tree
I barely absorb it
fast, wet, sublimating
like the first raindrop from a heavy storm
dropping in the pupil of my forehead
or on a parched field
I can’t speak for the future harvest,
but I will be satisfied for a while:
just you and me
making poetry on the beach

to the man who worries

To the Man who worries:

Don’t bicker with little girls,
that makes you a little boy

Push-ups when you’re mad,
and Gin when you’re Mad for her

Meet your Match
Stand your Ground
with a Woman
Let your skin get stuck under her nails

See what she likes
and test what she doesn’t
Show her who’s Daddy
but don’t break out your bills

Stay tough
Keep wearing your black shirts
and buckle your belt, the tightest notch
Wear a leather watch
but don’t track the time lost

Make sure it hurts, everything
from pulling to Promises
to cock fights to tears in ligaments

To the Man who worries
about her whereabouts:

Don’t.

Think about her in your bed
or under your weight
Does she know any other?
Has she kept closed like a Virgin?
Does she call you baby?
Do you make her swear?

To the Man who worries:

Does she go places without telling,
wish you were here?
And does she always want to be
the Rippling under your covers?
the Warmth that’s only yours
and no one else’s to Save from
the Russian winter,
the Northern wind
that forces your shutters open
ice shards through your skull

Does she do her best to scare
away the thought that she
might not be there one day?

If so, Don’t
be the Man who worries.
just be Her Man.

a man handles

he hurts me good
from tailbone
to spine
all the way up to my mind –
yes, it is a good one.

the gentle giant swipes me up
by my ankles,
and i
hang
hang
hang
i dangle
a vine whipped by the wind
singing mercy please, not me
don’t use me to draw the pain.

all the blood my body worked so hard on
keeping to itself
freefalls,
tunnels through the heart,
rushes for the nose
while my eyes search for a torch
to tame the freakish thing.

he slaps me on my cheeks,
tells me i’m healthy as expected
he bisects me a straight line
through my bellybutton
and takes a look inside –
yes, i’m healthier than expected,
almost as agile and slippery as a frog.

he circles round
bounding here as my hell
and i take it like a man
’til i can’t take it no more,
but a woman can always take some
more.

i never breathed a breath
until i panted in his arms
he wiped the damp hair
out of my mouth, the red sweat,
the tears from all the years.

he swiped me off my feet
and i hung
yelping
i’m yours
i’m yours
you got me
i’m yours!


now let me down
so i can compare our heights,
you can show me how strong you are
and if you really can swallow girls whole.