O My Heart is a chapbook of love poems that follow an arc from encounter to attraction to settled relationship to fracture, separation, and remembrance, only to start up again. O My Heart will be released by Moonstone Press in May 2022.
Eight of the poems have been published in various journals. These you can read following the links below:
- Animal Words
- A Sleepless Sense of Found
- Moving Out
- O My Heart
- The Kiss
- Wordsmouth Harbor Founder
- You Are Leaving
Thick fog denses a pirouette in freeze-time.
Sound and distance founder, lost in mist and soft, dark air.
The far line of the white ice is lost in the murk-mime,
the sand sill looms silver on the frozen lap of the lake, there.
I hear your voice from farther up the carriage line,
too soft to catch the words. A horse coughs in answer.
When I find you, the mare swings her face toward mine
and you turn, your hand upon her flank, ever the dancer.
I brace to your breaths upon my cheeks. You speak
animal words that make me laugh and give me thrills.
I am rendered roan and randy, stallion sleek,
and shivering in my withers, atremble at the thills.
You lean in close to scent my must and smile,
then stamp your foot and whinny, all tease and beguile.
Fog gathers all night on the oak above us,
in the meadow all around us.
As the stars step back behind the mist,
the curled brown wetted leaves
stitter down through the branches of the tree.
We lie close together in our bags, talking.
We steep there, we sink deeper into the share
as points of correspondence pile up
in layers from our stories.
My hungry tongue and lips turn demure,
my wonder rises without peak
until a sleepless sense of found enfolds me.
With the easy practiced motion
of hands on knobs of doors one knows,
she hips them open and heels them closed.
The key is on the bed.
With the sharp resolution of hands seizing bags
she moves down the hall and out.
In the street,
the ceaseless, jerking flow of traffic
breaks the quick insistence of her feet,
makes her lay down the bold new decisions
In the new building,
bright patterns flicker on the tiled kitchen floor
as gusty breezes gambol with the curtains.
Strange smells linger from some other’s cooking.
The place is small but holds real promise.
The days grow longer
with the new measure of the night.
She finds a print for the hallway wall,
relearns the evenings for garbage,
the taste of meals for one.
The cookbook stays open
on the table in the sun
and her own smells grow stronger
with the light.
You and I will be very good.
We will let her get round the corner,
wait two beats, maybe three—long enough
to know for sure she’s not coming back.
(Then I don’t care what she hears.)
You will lunge, then, I know.
And I will throw my arms around your neck
and grapple your howling desperation
until I’ve reattached the chain.
But I won’t let you go; no,
I will murmur something soothing,
some wordless, tuneless, hopeless—.
I will cling to your quivering
until I feel it’s safe to merely rest there
with my face buried to the tears
in your familiar must. The long,
long night we will sleeplessly entrust
the darkness with our pain
and wait to see: does the wrong
depart with the sunrise,
or cruelly taunt us
from the limit of your run?
But, O my heart, I promise:
I will not desert you.
I will not leave you all alone.
In cooldim of greygreen a beenman
is grinseen, a newway to followfoot.
The woodsing a feeltune. The moonroots
of shoots an liveseed are wingloose
and bringhymn to yourside in loomlight
in mineseye. Tremblesure, our wesong
is heartlong, rises in treebreezes and leaves,
is strong and sowise, so . . .
to the soft open face
of the lake
in the dark
in the chill
in the deep
the white nimbus
clings to lambency
longs against gravity
for the caress to last
until the moon spills
her revelation light
haunts my lips
the moist imprint
the sensate moment
our mouths barely parted
hovering there – near – in
vivid though hours
have passed – lost
in the mnemesis
of unvoiced promises
o the kiss
a liquid fire
all elation night
I rage into the phone.
Heedless? No. I feel
the windlash crack the lines.
I bid the waves crash me ’gainst the pier.
The wordstorm pounds with sounds
my lips curl to form,. I exult
as I hurl the handset down
into the consequences,
at last past any caring
that the relationship is sheering
its moorings and plunging
into forsaken haven danger.
(Ill the fell tongue tastes after anger
jettisons the heaviest cargo,
while the unlashed chests careen
across the lightless decks below.)
As I turn from the phone stand,
the ghost-ship heels toward the maelstrom,
rudderless, sails shredded by the gale.
As I walk down the hall, the empty hull
tips over the grimace lips and shudders
as it surrenders to the swirl.
Wracked and groaning,
cracked open past mending,
way past hailing any rescue,
I sink. I drink past drowning
the deep oblivion overhead.
I slowly settle on the bed.
I listen in the darkness to the echo
of all the reckless things I’ve said.
This monstrous looming,
distant but oncoming,
like the smoke of a burning
village cloaking the landscape,
promises a razing.
promises a razing. Ash falls,
thickening in the non-light
in a courtyard deserted of footfalls.
The fountain is dry.
he fountain is dry. Night draws nigh.
The scent of ends chokes out “Soon, too.”