Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Visible Breath

we know nothing about the dead
except that they spy on us
with their green runny eyes, their
pointing fingers shriveled as if
they’ve been in a cold tub too long
in an empty house where frostbitten
daisies and nettles poke up like fingers
next to the listing refrigerator

we know that sometimes they seem to put
their small cold hands on our collarbones
when we are alone in our tub,
the daisy sticker poking our behind
while the frost creeps in its fecundity
across the bathroom window

we know that they love winter and sleep
in the snow covered pines by the Hillsdale
Highway, way out past the trailer park ruined
by a flood, past the abandoned school with its
lone tether ball still swaying
in the nettles’ playground

and we know that if we walk under those trees,
we will find out how much they miss us, how much
they long to hold us in their fragile cold arms
the color of old water and nettles

and we think we know how the soul looks,
a luminous leaf-colored bubble rising
to the daisy-like sun,
because what else could be so softly released
when the frost melts from our hair
after we let them kiss
the visible breath
at our lips, one last time?

3 comments:

tearful dishwasher said...

Christine-

Nice work here. Some repetition that weakens the imagery a bit for me. "Small cold hands on our collarbones" is esp. nice.

The idea of the longing of the dead for us, their hunger for another taste of life...good stuff.

Thanks.

aleah said...

Yeah, I was equally torn between the nice imagery and the obsession with 'nettles.' I know it must be intentional, but it distracts from the poem.

Everyone's a critic, girl. ;-)

Christine said...

Mr. Teary eyed -- thanks so much for your comment! I'm really happy to get feedback. I'm a gonna think about what you said. Mebbe.

Ms. Crow -- thanks! don't worry about being too critical, really.

Word for the day is o'bug. I'm serious.