She Herself, as in Ancestors Anchored
i.
Otherwise the stone might burn in our palms when flint strikes flesh,
but as is, she herself is a gang plank –

a continuation of steps,
molecules evaporating in mouths

pressed awkward and bent against skin –

as ghosts making love in the attic of the cold house
where the hours wind in the walls and the fence posts

become statues of lovers long since lost to those same
mingling tinkling tocks of the same self made clock –

it sounds more like a whisper,
she might say

to you at the first rose thrushes of dusk light
on the horizon

when night starts to weigh on her like a lid locked on a jar atop her.

ii.
The church was burning
and from the byways we
watched the smoke fill our
nostrils, crack our skin like
broken glass, porcelain
lions, crystal-eyed calico
scarecrows where the birds
uproot themselves to suck
the same such ivy rattle of
that fire seen from across
the field.

I didn't look at you.
I didn't want to.

iii.
She thinks herself ancestral; archival,
active as any moment stolen in the
stillness of slums and gloom; goddesses
and ghosts.

Pharos stooped like doorways,
macadam and bracken, an anchor
from the ships of plenty poised
in the water as a finger might be
plunged into a bowl ready for drinking

and we took time into ourselves
released the ghosts from the gallows
of our eyelids and sailed away
across the fireline, looking back
whenever we could to watch the
noise left in the wake of our
demurrage -

and how the church burned;
how the howls took on our
faces, pretenders embodied
from traces of our singed
verbatim;

you held me fast in your arms
otherwise the stone might burn in our palms when flint strikes flesh.


a/n: written for the August WCC.