Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Again the Cradle
image borrowed from deviant art
AGAIN, THE CRADLE
Again, the cradle. The bough breaks, the cradle,
quiet while lions wear their war weeds, bury silence,
quiet while a child in stains screams —everything,
everything here smells like the gas!
her propeller hands like trapped rabbits, twitching,
my hair, my mouth, my breasts —look!
her tiny fingers try
cracking the bough, collapsing the cradle—
look! my grandmother's bracelets all buried—
Look, no face! Look, it's morning.
Look, it's God. In Gaza.
Bandwagons line for each abject word —
where wheels don't stop exploded infants' fists,
or mother-skulls, lost, lost mornings—
Brave holy land war.
Where the bough has killed its cradle.
Bright, sun-lit ash,
its inexcusable shroud, rocking.
They swept the dead like loosened crumbs from their fingertips, claws, curled. Brushed the dust, swallowed handfuls, hungry. Invented noise— in all that silence.
An egg in her tiny right hand, blinded, seraph-child, she—was what was left of what had finished. Small-winged cataract, not much more. Killed
cradles, and skins, and old men, and kissing—stopped. Egg, in her sweaty small right hand, that hatchling meant for morning. Morning meant for saving. Or yet another prophet.
She stole an egg
from the beast's bed—reeking, heaving nest builder.
Stepped blind, like vengeance. A cinder, empty eyed.
Hovered like a cloud of summer wasps.
Shifted, a gaunt lighthouse onto
promise, across all slaughter.
Reached. —Held it.
What emerged bit her. What cracked its shell
licked her. What emerged, wanted her.
To do it all again.
It didn't happen that way. She held the egg she'd stolen from God's nest and He whispered to her: Good riddance to it and to you. See if you can do any better with this one.
I tried and I'm tired of making eggs. Believe you stole it if that makes you feel brave or dangerous. Blessings. He showed his teeth.
It never—mattered, which came first, the father, or the mother, or the egg. Go ahead, my good thief. Go ahead, my bad angel. Bless. Happy morning. She held the warm oval.
Held the breaking, mottled, hot ellipse. Couldn't remember— why. —Breathed it. Waited to feel a nervous thin-skinned thrum. One heartbeat.
She held it for such a long winter.
Hyacinths were blooming in January. Snows froze them, washed them. Still, she held it.
Her eye like the promise she finally remembered— but from whom?—on a sparrow.
(for Gaza. 1/2009)
Posted over on Poems and Poetics