Bees stream from the hive,
dashes of light
aimed at October sun.
I sit in the writing shed
where a beaded curtain ripples
silver trinkets draped with spinwebs.
Two tomatoes ripen on my desk.
The perennial tease
for someplace other,
keeps me streaming to the North Shore
foraging for home.
Perfumed realtors give a hard sell
from alcohol-stained breath.
We talk septic systems and mold,
stand on tiptoes in the attic
for water views.
This is what we do before the hard frost
before the windows close for good.
It is right to gather seabreeze
the fish smell of the docks,
cast nets for imaginary lives.
But when I return,
there is this honey house --
this quiet --
where words ripen
and familiar objects
nestle around me
as if I am the queen.
When my mother was dying and still
up and moving through her final days
she bled from her womb like
a last hurrah, a final embrace
between crone and maid
at the edge of a cliff where the bag of bones
But it was also the ordinary world.
We sat in the lamplit waiting room
of the gynecologist
between the hum of pregnant bellies and
the blue world of a fish tank.
My mother slid her feet
into poised chrome stirrups
while I stood at her head, both
of us splitting off from the man
at the other end, until his hand
waved before me saying come look
and my mother's Mona Lisa smile
led me to stand before her mystery
unveiled beneath the hot glare of floodlights.
He parted the greyish lips and
like a flower opening in
time-lapse photography I saw petals
of flesh rotate in kaleidoscope movements,
pink gateways swirling open
to a raspberry center.
"Now here is the area of inflammation
of the urethra," his voice said
but my ears were pressed
to the tunnel walls where the sound
of the river carried my blue bound body
rushing to that crowning moment -
lungs' first taste of air.
And I thought how extraordinary the design
to be brought before the doorway
of her tanned-skin tarp
to sing in praise of matter, mater,
while she lay withering on autumn ground.
We never dreamed it would take five hours to buy cheese
but first we had to find the goats.
We had to find the red-tiled roof
nestled in rock
off the edge of a mountain road.
Nausea led us to the cliff
where our hanging heads
met the perfect stillness of rack-headed ones
on their own plateau.
The sky broke,
balls of hail bounced on hard rock
and I was Heidi in alpine country
following the goatherder home.
We waited in a cold shed
thick with the smell of straw.
A rumpled citation hung on a nail -
"From the officials of France
a Gold Medal
to Dominique Rouillard for his cheese -
first prize in the category of freshness."
And we hung our heads now
over a crude wooden table
bowing before seven white mounds
the shape of biscuits
and soft as a baby's butt.
The famed freshness piercing our noses
our throats cooing as his hands wrapped
each little cheese.
Carrying the moist packages in my palms
I stood before the view
in the apex of snow-peaked ranges
the silver-ribboned river below,
and I thanked the wide world
for what the goats had made.
Traveling north, to the land of
live free or die,
beyond the black tentacles of city smoke
and the highway’s icy snarl,
there is that moment
we take any side road,
park the car,
march into the woods and
Our bodies are like metal clocks,
old Big Bens,
clunky and hard.
Standing in the new snow,
amazing things fly out of us --
coiled springs and sprocket wheels,
a broken bell,
a second hand.
Numbers drop from our faces.
All of our rusted parts
We stare at a stand of fir trees
that stare back at us.
From their green robes, birds fly.
From their darkened center,
wake us from the dream of time.
Moisture breaks on our faces,
a cloud of breath
blown from the boughs.
We are real, they say.
We are real.