For a Friend Gone Away: Narcissistic Version

I do not miss you the way a fish, thrashing and gurgling, misses water. I do not miss you like a brother. Your brother, balding like you, already does. In order to miss you like my daughter, that little pocket mirror wearing my dimples, I would have to hold you down while I blethered raspberries…

Visiting

Far up the estuary sands two runes Stoop to rout the muck-besotted clams. In bee-sharp rain their shapes are snarls (yes, men, But of what sort, what age, what … sex?) We know That code, the squiggle that men make far off, The motile jot that makes a man. At Dylan’s loft Braced all-white against…

Season

Against a wish I snuck out into the storm and stood frigid minutes on a path from shoppers to a calm surprised by only me. Descending snow screened off sound and built its world from night light and motion. The latish hour seemed safe though ghostly; the ravine laid out in white and brown showed…

The Clacker Bell

A dozen snow geese cross a black sky. Wind and wing. Smell of rain and cornfields, the tiny ears like rows of concealed teeth. Who knew war would begin with so few words? Someone knew. There is no sound until the clacker bell rings and wet drops burn. Linda Cooper lives in Seattle, Wash., where…

Correspondence from the Bottom of the Well

“All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” –George Orwell The free market hollered one night in June when bugs jangled and glowed like coins and the stars answered with a thousand conspiracies. I’m the pirate, the free market said, and you are the gold. I sobbed with the bullfrogs. We’d written…

Mother Cabrini dried up

long before she found Colorado. When she moved her bones rubbed together and her skin sloughed dust like a holy aura. She told her sisters, We are dizzy because we breathe the light of God and pointed to the dirt which felt most like her own body, grotto of a dormant womb which bubbled with…

Medieval saints could read hearts

like Braille. This was never the case for Mother Cabrini. As a child she put her fingers to her chest whenever there was pain and pressed into it, as if the muscle needed a reminder of the real. Perhaps she was too weak to bear the sacred. She thought of the chalice, of the font,…

In the branches of the cherry tree

Mother Cabrini is only a child. Born two months premature, she shows her sister her visible heartbeat, how it flutters the skin between her breasts. With so many small coffins buried in the orchard, it is not difficult to begin praying for bodies and find they have turned into trees. Mother Cabrini counts the twigs…