A Dog Barked Upon My Death

A dog barked upon my death, its eyes are blue,
Perhaps reflecting the sky; I was not sure.
But dear Aesculapius was at my feet, dressing wounds
In breaths like mighty Olympus kneeled.
There shed a tear, a dog
Barked as I reached for breath. As I gasped
Holding on to whatever wind may breathe
Its life to me, I thought: a dog
Could bark still. In my drowning, I’m as unwilling
As a bark, or boom, held still, subdued.

So, did my soul dance the elegant elegy of the ticks,
The stink conspired to make the sicker sick;
The slick oils of yesterday’s sweating stuck
From paws that brushed my joints. And then his tongue
Like a flesh-ful of disease, did lick
And dolour tasted my pores, like Styx, I am
Bestowed Achilles’ knee, for my dog
Itself is as fire-eyed Cerberus, yet
With two fewer heads
Than I imagined him to be.

And he had resolve, that dog did, he watched
The breath that left my mouth in gasps
With wonder. When must his teeth decay? he must ask,
When tasked. Such breathing levelled ‘bove
Such madness screaming in levelled love,
This dog — his lungs
Must have given out for snarls given not
Of agression or spark of attention, but agony; thus,
The dog masked my shivering before death, too, my fears
Outshouted, outnumbered, out-cried
By madness howling only sense.

A dog barked upon my death, and I am past
The world. Past its breadth. My shape is cast
Upon the endless. I am a waiting shadow, ’til
The dog that barked upon my death
Himself shall breathe his last, at last.

— A. P.

Weather Vane

Mornings tend to be gray in fall
But we conversed in colors, some of them in warmth,
Like a collection of words that bore spring-time, once.

*

You proved my heart a weather-vane, capable
Of recognizing direction, assessing heaviness,
Separating distractions in the air.

*

It caught care and let weave through it
The unpredictable-ness of mass emotion,
In the tangled mess of drowning, it breathed
As it had to, as it needed; never helped.

*

In the colors of our letters, weathers bathe,
The words almost gasping, as if biting wind,
In the fluent blither of our myriad thoughts
Expressed too soon, that we choke.

*

And when we choked, we choked in color, too,
But should we have let love bloom in such muted hues?
The backdrop cold in the gray intercept,
Freezing eager half-smiles in the fading paint.

*

Yet, you proved my heart a weather-vane,
Left as weathered, as stricken by your hands.
You were gone eventually, but I’m still here:
And after years and years I still stand.

*

Mornings tend to be bright in spring
But we conversed in colors, some of them cold,
Like a collection of words that brought winter, once.

—A. P.

acheilous (lipless)

she secretly shook
hands-to-veins
in her anemious ascent
bloodless and free;
lips snow-balmed in wanderlust,
effigy in flakes,
the crossed-arm treatment.

collections of connections
cramped in minute pockets
of air between neurons;
head lighter than trauma.

grim-reap this belle
from the red chambers;
i seek you, my church,
my prophetic womb.

find me spiritualized
on the corners of sense,
i am aching, aching,
like rivers kissed by frost.

— A. P.

Slowly, January, for I Might Break

You make me write the worst poems.

It’s as effortless as opening window panes, however;
The cold wind you bring through
Still smelling of moonflakes December held close.

I cannot decide what’s worse:
The over-ripening of fruit or the buzzing
Of the fly, hov’ring ‘bove it’s sunburst skin, at wit’s end,
Not knowing what to do —
In certain panic expressing
Through its little wings, its only truth:
That it loves fruit.

You make me write the worst poems.

However, the table is set, and one must eat.
If not me, then my trials, and my missives, sweet
Incarceration of dunes in the thought-wheel spoke,
Meanwhile earnest, the singing of crows outside, screaming,
Slowly, slowly, January,
Do not break me—
Do not break me so soon.

And after you, I was lonely.
Before you, I was, too,
But you made me remember, or perhaps… know
What… love truly felt like, even so.
What did I remember, though?
What did I really know?

(I still hear you whisper) Only the wind, now —
(I still hear you whisper so close) Only the wind.

You make me write the worst poems.

You make me write the best ones, too.

— A. P.

Conundra // Dream Field

Your eyes of smoke in the middle of daydream
ponder still to fly, to even beauty’s comb,
starlight snuffed out of stars, for wish’s womb,
and hair before shoulders wound and re-wound.

I have left your thoughts long ago; you no longer dream of me,
in the fields of sleep, I am alone. No longer the grassland
were as used to your sweet rain as I am. Wildly, I sought,
but bathed only in yearning still, the shallow after-images.

That I have rid the ambience of songs that recall to us
the futility of what seven lifespans may endure,
for the gratifying sweetness of love denied seven-fold,
I have gathered to hold. It dies once more, and mourns deep.

But feet walk and eyes open; they are made for such things,
as in the gratifying folding of skin, I find milder pain, as
clunky and meandering as a verse about dreams, wondering
how it even began or how it will end. Conundrum.

— A. P.