Monday, November 16, 2009

After Winter Nursing (Poem)

In honor of the snow we got in my neck of the woods over the weekend, here's a poem I've been turning lately (another for my Browns and Rusts sequence). All the usuals apply: suggestions, readability, praise, further discussion, whatever. After the poem, the floor's yours.

* * * *

After Winter Nursing

I imagine myself newborn, mouth
dripping with nipple and milk
warm as the rest between breaths
when the flesh goes lax against

death, cozies up to the grave
as to memories nursed
over the mourning dove's elegy
the winter hope slipped beneath my skin:

the first blanket mother used
to swaddle my soul
as she raised me to the breast,
latched me on to her heritage,

filled an eight by three by six basin
with desire enough to top off
the abyss, to trigger the contraction
of God's womb, heaven's walls

bearing down on my hunger, birthing
stars like purled bodies, edges
lost in the eddy of questions swirling
between mother and son,

dripping off the unleashed nipple
as snow fogs the window, asking
permission to enter, asking
what it means

when the mourning dove sings
even though winter’s come, even though
the dove’s coo may just be a coo,
even though I’ve been asking since birth

when a bird’s just a bird, snow just snow,
flesh just flesh, death just death, God just
God, not a question
fogging the window like childhood

wanting in, asking where I buried placenta and soul
in this landscape suddenly blank as DNA
the moment of conception, base pairs
copulating like question marks,

asking, asking, asking what the sex,
what color the eyes/skin/hair, how narrow
the fingers/lips/tongue, how dominant
the longing for solitude sealed in a mouth

once dripping with nipple and milk
warm as the rest between breaths.