—Tom Goff, Carmichael
shape—space-time portal?: between
—Joyce Odam, Sacramento
Messages of time wait in the clock,
pretend that nothing moves.
Life in suspension
is not lived.
Reduce the mind to nothing
and retain that nothing forever.
Snap back awake now.
Take up the old suffering hour.
Flick past the tiny seconds of joy.
You are not immune to anything.
I took her land and made a map,
drew little homes upon it
and arrows to where I wanted to be.
I had no land like that. Mine was
packed and unpacked in little suitcases
until it grew as small
as sand in a tiny sand-bottle.
I never knew time could crumble
like that. I moved the miles around until
I found one I wanted to keep.
I stayed-put until my roots went deep.
I named her land my land.
I made a flag of her scarf.
Her initials became my initials.
out of your letter
comes the mustiness
of where you are
smoke and dampness
from the envelope
I know you now
in a dark place
full of stale existence
how can you tell me
you are happy
and all is well with you
Little polite lady
waits patiently for the traffic to
let her back across the street,
her hands folded primly to her sex,
her white hair
netted to the breeze.
She has learned to be patient.
She wavers on the curb
like an indeterminate leaf—
her chance comes—
and she hurries over the lengthening
asphalt shadows of the trees.
Gathering up the old fruit of those
delicious trees . . . Scattering
the bird shadows before they form
their own starvations around us . . .
Hunger is not the only message here.
(first appeared in The Lilliput Review)