When, like your narcissus, I go to sleep

When she was young
she would sit, singing birdsong trills
and madrigals in her ptarmigan throat.

We were green flesh.
Our thoughts ran together, acid and restless,
and she sang when she was nineteen,
on a California rail,
her voice in the Big Sur fog.

I built her a wedding bed
from pine and mountain hemlock.
We sleep between our whittled angels.

But she no longer sings.
In our wedding bed
her eyes weep diamonds
pressed by the moon
from some ancient pain,
from a cavernous pain.

When I enter her
she oils the sheets,
resinous as a Lebanese tree.

She rests her eyes
from their inlaying
on my arm, her walnut eyes.
There is no wealth
that does not come
from the body of my lover.

Rising for work,
with a handful of gems,
we sweep away the bloodstones
of her grieving.

Sweet Monster

My husband gone
I raid the fridge, she says.
Not to eat but to pare.
He is happiest when it is full.
I toss out instead
past dated eggs, old olives,
a month-old splash of milk.

Cat food — tossed.
I keep dry vermouth,
muscular carrots,
whole grain bread.
When I am finished
the refrigerator breathes.

I miss him terribly,
but when I walk in
the kitchen is calm.

On the north seat,
the tabby, the young one,
watches me,
quiet without him.
She opens her belly to the sun.

She is my loneliness, too:
sweet monster,
sitting peaceful in my chest,
stretching in the big bed,
purring at the breaking light.

Summer Wedding

New married, they lived one summer
by an apple tree,
and watched the fruit
turn green, then oxblood red.
And watched the sun
and watched the shingled sea.

August came
untended in the long grass.
At picking time
he found a bright pot
and shook the apples down,
his hands around the branches.

He was awkward in his wedding ring:
the smallest finger rubbed it,
like a tongue with a new tooth,
where it blazed against
the thick gray boughs.

Where apples fell,
they stewed in pockets
of unclipped grass,
in earthen cider smells,
in a garden quick
with snakes and sowbugs.

He stood among them
in a fine independence,
satisfied to not be
mad with growing,
while Sara watched him
from the kitchen.

She must have seen him as he was:
not simple and apart,
but a kind of metamorphosis,
some mythic thing —
legs, wrapped and rooted
to the earth by snakes,
his arms in apples,
and all his skyward fingers, leaves.