Aught, no. 14 (2005)

Kristy Bowen


Take the word for water
and break it apart,
mandolins and amber,
names for the daughters
you'll never have.

Divide it by the unknown,
blind faith, the scent
of lemons, or what hunger
teaches us.

October is an unruly month.
Round a corner and suddenly
the trees startle, a madness
of oranges. Soon,
the skeleton of their arms
will not hold you.

In this season of car
crashes, and dead bodies
uncovered in woods,

I go in and out of the room,
wearing my high boots,
thinking of winter, it's pale
dictionary of want.

This is the way it happens
I am a sestina in reds.



In the end, it is the language
we forget, this hastening
of tongues, the unfastening
of buttons. Dawn, and how

do we know the name—
the real name—of it, now,
when the minutes are marked
by sticks, and the lanterns

hang like moons over
the lawn? A wreckage
of dactyls gather in my
throat, my dizzy limbs,

the resin of the bed.
The very first word
was surely need, or
a sound as if underwater,

our open mouths listening.


Copyright 2005, by the author. All rights reserved.
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