You found malleable a woman of uncandled clay;
I suppose it was she who gave you the carver’s adze,
Saying, “I just want to be close to you” –
You smiled through the splinters in your gloss
And took lacquered fingers to the handle.
You squinted at her and began to whittle.
Unglazed, her edges smudged –
She lost once-cherished contrapposto
But you, defacing, promised to remold:
Spit-slicked naked fingers bedaubing earth,
She began to shape into your demanded facsimile.
Submitted, she shouted your name in the arcade
And you tasted the resonance –
She looked above sculpting block
And saw the painting of the tongue
You were carving from her throat.
You completed her formal
And fired the avatar in piles of burning blankets –
The air smelled of coffee and cigarettes
As her earth collapsed into subservient quartz.
She stumbled phoenix-like from the cinders;
Looking through her, you said,
“Thank you for being,” though you meant:
“Thank you for becoming her.”
A Viper and a Chickadee
“I want to find somebody who can touch me,”
Lamented black-eyed viper
While chickadee’s wing stroked his chest –
“I want to find somebody who can brace me.”
His burnished fangs did not restrain him
When he bowed to kiss at morning’s rise;
He knew he would poison but needed the taste.
Handless, he could not offer hold,
But the following bird beat wings the same –
“I don’t want a glowing,” he whispered,
As he breathed empyreal fire over the sheets –
“I don’t want a love.”
He bit and she licked the golden blood, imagining multitudes:
How was she, so wing-wrapped, to know it was ephemeral –
How was she, so newly nascent, to know it was gilded?
He breathed, “Come close,”
Then clipped court her wings and slithered;
Lone, she saw he’d bound her to scorching lake.
Chained burning, she felt his poison –
He found the cold of snow and called it heaven.