From the us that made you with a little help
from the everlasting universe, from valley
dust and sun, from beans and escarole —
here is your spring-sprung shout-out,
dance move in sequined slippers as we wait
for your unmolding, hatching through
the water of the never-was.
2. Becoming (afternoon, old mix tape playing)
From before you head towards earth
this golden pig-year as the yellow
dog and black cat join us on the stoop
Roy Orbison sings I’m so tired of being
lonely it is January but it’s springtime
here in Mercy town, words are light
as cat-leap into pansies, gold and violet,
pied as the dead man’s car roof’s peeling paint
David Byrne sings take me to
the shopping mall, rosemary sprawls
through Mercy town while I try
to think about my muscles several times
a day, down there I mean,
where you are heading,
the cat eases his chin over the step,
a young girl crosses into shade,
the neighbor dog barks,
Doobie Brothers sing what a fool
believes, he sees, the other dogs join
in, all but ours.
3. Tucson, New Year’s
Curled on the hotel king size
while the tent dries:
it leaps like salmon sometimes,
love does, aligning spine and smile.
The soaked saguaro back there
in the red rocks told me not
to bother with the war just now,
to paint nails blue. The desert’s wet
today, there’s dancing to be done.
4. Are you having a boy or a girl?
After I paint one side of the Modesto
Salvation Army dresser lilac,
the vinegar mother slips into the red
cabbage, turning its soaking water
blue so I boil Araucana eggs in that
to make them even bluer.
The neighbor’s plum tree’s ripe,
one wine-deep limb curves down
over the fence into our bare backyard,
deep crimson for the taking.
Ballfield’s bluebird, sky’s green meteor,
first poppy blooming, last ultrasound
in Modesto so we go try the Filipino
ice cream flavor ube, lurid purple.
5. When you were born
The Arcade Fire was singing
joyously of uprising on Neon Bible,
red poppies were just blooming while
the orange native ones abounded
and strawberries so ripe —
I’m sorry I fed us pesticides
the Hmong spray
on their red red berries
they were so sweet
and the people have come
so far to grow them
6. Quentin’s Quietus
Whither sleep? How
is your dryness,
The mockingbird knits its scarf
of stolen melody above tall wood fences,
along the breeze. Cinco de Mayo,
sí, but let you go now, here.
Lie still. Dream of a bubble,
rising zeppelin, dancing wallaby,
or just this clever gray and white bird
laughing in crepe myrtle branches,
7. Newcomers: Early September, Dane Beach
Just waves in nano-splashes,
just the wide bay with its verticals
of boat-masts, sure fix for a dirty kitchen.
The baby fists sand to his lips,
the dog walks the high tide line’s
dry thatch of algae, crisp
old typewriter ribbons
each tide washes up some clams,
each tide rolls these cylinders
of green and brown strips, studded
with plastic jetsam
Can’t get no —
Come orchids, then:
flame-orange, on arm-long stems,
two dozen torches the rich folks’
garden center’s throwing out.
Our share of the wealth.
8. First Equinox
Welcome to the dark side
of the sun, my son.
The pale dog sleeps
on her round pale bed
made in China, you sleep
on your green square blanket
in your yellow sweater, fire child,
welcome to colder water. Air boy,
welcome to earth.