Shapes VI & VII, A soft geometry

There is a hole there,
where she used to be.

It is quiet most of the time
but sometimes the silence
in the change of the season
is sound enough 
to pressure the skull.

It is a place where a sister 
used to be,
where she will always
used to be.


the shapes of things
come through space,
a ready presence
of permanence and

the shapes of things
crawl through time
like forms through fabric
and the memories become 
a soft geometry.


Nineteen years ago today my sister died.  She had an unknown ticking time-bomb inside her chest and it chose a Saturday morning in October, 1994 to go off.  She was forty-two.  I was twenty-four.   She was the oldest, and I was the youngest.  She is no longer the oldest but I am still the youngest.  She was eighteen years older than I and I suppose that, given the way the numbers fell, it would have been more appropriate, it would have made more sense numerologically for me to write all this a year ago, but I guess I was still not ready.  I needed one more year.  One year of semi-consistent, semi-solid writing to get at this shape that has been staring at me from the shadows for all this time.

Every year since her death, the end of October has been dark. There is always a presence of absence waiting there at the end of the month. Some years one tries to forget, to move on. Some years, one accepts, and keeps quiet about the house. Some years one just stares into the dark for a few weeks and then finds oneself on the other side, somehow in November again.

A few months back, I had a strange dream. I do not often remember my dreams, and even less often do they seem “real.” This time my sister was there. I felt the skin of her face. I sensed her fragrance, still so distinct.  I felt the loss of her more strongly than I had allowed myself to ever feel while awake, for nineteen years.  She was pregnant.  She was never able to have children in life and here she was, a very real ghost, very much with child, hugging me over my own child who, in our own roundabout way, we had named after her.  This dream showed me how very real her memory is, how very fresh old wounds can remain.  This dream let me see the child of my self that I lost nineteen years ago.  This dream made me want, for the first time in a long time, to really look at her death. To get to know it.  Again.  For the first time.  

This soft geometry was finally ready to show its shape to me.

Shapes IV & V

an emptiness murmurs 
and babbles a bit 
in the background

a bit of possessed 
silence speaks 
a bit louder 
when dress-forms are about,
when fabrics or yarn are mentioned.

last words of love catch 
over a car,

the rough skin of hands
on embroidery silk,

small colors, fraying
threads.  time cannot move
that car from between us.


I dreamed I saw you last night.

We are in an apartment, preparing for a tasting 
in the vacant apartment next door,
(a place that I have slept through before).

I remember a silver 
dragon, hanging
—by a crook in its tail— 
from a hook on the wall.

I arrive to teach a class, squeeze into a booth
and a woman greets me, says, “Here you are just like…
well, just like this morning.”  I get situated, put a tool-kit 
behind me on the back of the booth.  Magpie is with me.  
You arrive, very pregnant and squeeze into the booth 
on the other side of Maggie and I hug you tightly, my hand 
on your face.  I cry hard and say, "I've missed you so much,” 
and you tell me that you are free all night and I say, ”We have 
a tasting.”  At the same time, you say, "You have a tasting.”

Shapes II & III

a sharp thing lives
for many years at october's end.

a sharp thing asks  
for quiet about the house.

no mood for tricks,
the trick of life 
being enough to manage.

sharp especially should 
memory fall 
like a weight on a friday
as the day itself did.

dulled now
by age and time and youth
from bitter to 

watching one 
grow is kin 
to slow forgetting.

forgetting the pain of one
forgets the joy of another.

growing up, 
one grows away.

these things converse correlatively.


The body always remembers 
the traumas of the heart.

Whether virtual or real, 
the body remembers.


i am driving home, back to work,
back to the kitchen, our new cafe, 
on this late october early evening
with the day and the days getting 
darker by degrees and i see a 
tall white van backed up the drive
of a small house.  its back doors
are open and on its side is painted
a large blue cross with the name
Provider Plus in white letters cut out 
of the cross and of course i wonder
if someone has come home to die.

a brace of mallards cuts across my 
route as i cross the river and they 
follow it.  i must stop at the grocery 
for fruit as the commercial supplier's
have been so atrocious lately.  the
parking lot is packed on this early
friday evening and i see the pinking
autumn sky reflected in the windows 
of all the cars and trucks.  it will
be dark by the time i get home.

Matter, 200

Your best friend turns 
into a demon, changes into 
a green monster and
slithers through the grass.
Your enemy saves your soul
and it doesn't matter.

They are both trying to kill you
in their own special way.

The mark on your door is useless.
Your neighbor will be the one 
to come in the night and slay
your young, slaughter your innocents.

The one who drags you from the fire
is no one that you've ever known.

The one that shoots you
in the back of the head
is closest to your heart.

You have not slept with fear.
You have not been carried 
to the bridal chamber of war.
You have not been groomed 
for more than consumption.

Even training for destruction 
gives you more than you know.

You can not feel your own face.
Your eyes are not your own.
Your bones belong to your ancestors
and your voice is a sound offer.

Your matter is energy
over and over again.
Your energy is matter
only once.
It is not your matter.

The stars were never yours.
You are their future.
You are the dust of their deaths.
They will outlive you by the billions. 

You do not have 
even 200 friends.

The brain can not
carry all that wiring.

You do not matter.

Do something

that matters.