Wild moths beat your eyes wide.
You are the candle and arc of light.
You find the fragile blue pulse.
You say it’s all in the smell
of alcohol and ripening lemons.
The lightbulb, glistening yellow metal
like a captured moon might be.
It’s sailing the harbor at Puerto Vallerta,
swimming warm water and black sharks
to a cove of wild boars and waterfalls
choked by ferns. You taste it,
filling your mouth and lungs
as you ride into the Salinas Valley
drought-hot November, vineyards
and walnut trees gone red. It’s behind
your eyes. It’s on your tongue.
It’s the field where Daddy took off
your training wheels and you careened
that first bicycle through stakes of stiff
It’s learning to tell time again
and not get in cars with strangers.
Thirteen years of psychiatry
and they’re right. It’s mother,
unbuttoning her blouse,
giving you her great white breast at last.
You bite through her startled ribcage.
It’s day breaking over Hollister, California,
land of pine cones and artichokes
hills of horses caught behind the spoils
of fences as you ride to the white caps
and ice plant clawing the slow dunes
at Moss Landing, fields viridian, fields
salamander and coral, all edging into harvest.
And it’s Mazatlan and Moss Landing,
Massachusetts and Mallorca.
My God, it’s the fields of Mars.
Stiff winds cutting paths through
red grasses, beneath the twin amber breasts
before the moons went blind and the vines dried.
So, you’ve swallowed it all. Dust trails and ridge
of shadow gouged by a stagecoach ninety years ago.
Your arms? Your arms have been carved by stars.
A Santa Ana wind slams through your lungs.
This is love, baby.
You are young, naked,
your navel filled with platinum.
It’s a sea breeze curling in soft swirls
across cliffs just born on the moon.
And it’s all of your childhood,
all at once, before you pull the needle
Kate Braverman, copyright 2005 – 2006