Scarred skin against mine,
to the world beneath. Echoes
off an empty crab shell, stone submerged
for two hundred thousand years. Huge bodies
in Night, first word spoken
by the hole that makes itself:
a mouth, a black mouth: I screamed,
scrambled through surf towards shore, stumbled,
sea in the nose, mouth, this black mouth, crawling on sand,
and turned to see them, rolling.
Could I have gone with them? I didn’t go.
How many years thinking I am unfinished?
And then this morning:
a sudden raven in a bare cottonwood,
juniper shadow across a railroad bed – how the story continues,
fin and water, stone and tree,
with or without us.
Pawley’s Island, North Carolina; Santa Fe, New Mexico
Plumbing a pipe
in a tight crawlspace
beneath this house, beneath this development; blind mole,
dragging my body through dust.
Scratch flint, torch lit, flame to flux,
solder spreads around the copper seam.
And there’s a snake – of course there’s a snake –
curled in the corner, shadow
Eye on the snake, the wood beam behind the pipe
catches fire. (Seriously?)
Quick, spray it out…
The snake, still out there,
takes me in through its tongue: taste
of smoke, shadow, dust
San Jose, California
Christien Gholson is the author of the novel A Fish Trapped Inside the Wind (Parthian 2011) and On the Side of the Crow (Hanging Loose Press 2006; Parthian 2011). blog • contact