November 18, 2005

moon stuttering in the sky like film stuck in a projector


her, by Alexandra Jacoby, 1999

History
-- by Robert Lowell

History has to live with what was here,
clutching and close to fumbling all we had--
it is so dull and gruesome how we die,
unlike writing, life never finishes.
Abel was finished; death is not remote,
a flash-in-the-pan electrifies the skeptic,
his cows crowding like skulls against high-voltage wire,
his baby crying all night like a new machine.
As in our Bibles, white-faced, predatory,
the beautiful, mist-drunken hunter's moon ascends--
a child could give it a face: two holes, two holes,
my eyes, my mouth, between them a skull's no-nose--
O there's a terrifying innocence in my face
drenched with the silver salvage of the mornfrost.

The Sound
-- by Kim Addonizio

Marc says the suffering that we don't see
still makes a sort of sound -- subtle, soft
noise, nothing like the cries or screams that we
might think of -- more the slight scrape of a hat doffed
by a quiet man, ignored as he stands back
to let a lovely woman pass, her dress
just brushing his coat. Or elese it's like a crack
in an old foundation, slowly widening, the stress
and slippage going on unnoticed by
the family upstairs, the daughter leaving
for a date, her mother's resigned sigh
when he sees her. It's like the heaving
of a stone into a lake, before it drops.
It's shy, it's barely there. It never stops.

Between Love and Death
-- by Frank Stanford

I watched the woman in the room.
She moved in her misery
Like a pine in the wind.
I could hear the woman sweeping her floors,
Boiling roots, and drinking milk.
I could watch the woman
Turning the tap of her bath
Through the hole in the wall.
On the summer nights I whistled,
Wanting her to hear me.
She would look my way, sometimes,
With an apple core in her mouth.
Working late, overhauling her truck,
She would drink coffee and hum,
Go to sleep with grease on her fingers.
God I was crazy for not
Going to her door,
Tapping on her window,
Following her to the river
Where her dory grew wet like the moon.
A bird sick of its tree, I despair.
Leaves without wind, I lay
Damp and quiet on the earth.
She bled through the walls
Into my side of the house,
And they came with their lights
Asking did I know the woman,
And I said no, not I.

Dick Cheney's Heart
-- by Barton Sutter

Where is Dick Cheney's heart?
Does it bulge like a bubo
Under his arm?
Does it hang like a goiter
Below his groin?
Where is Dick Cheney's heart?
Polls reveal that most of the nation
Desperately want to know the location
Of Dick Cheney's missing heart.
Is it hiding out
With JFK's brain?
Did the CIA
Leave it out in the rain?
Where is Dick Cheney's heart?
Is it floating somewhere
In a large vat of oil?
Is it kept on ice,
Thought it's already spoiled
Like something moldy
You'd find wrapped in foil?
Where is Dick Cheney's heart?
We're worried about
Our vice president.
He had a bad heart,
But who knew where it went?
Is it hunkered down
In the cave of his colon?
Has it gone underground
With Osama bin Laden?
Where is Dick Cheney's heart?
Dozens of questions
Clamor for answers,
But this one would do for a start:
Where is Dick Cheney's heart.

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