Undashed, first-loving. In my book-eyessmall iris-flushings and the clot of meat Ifinger from my hair. Just as firesat sea do, just as the thick and pleatedcurtain sweeps the nation by the canyon,I am come to straddle the monument,to write the mouse’s letter with a cannon,in the form of a god, take a swan who asked for meand form a swan too in beaky whiteness.A gummy hand to hold the glass and driedhair for a lighter. Most primitively tightened,I stretched a china duck for you. I pliedthe salve. Open with a fingernailthe valve. Take a cat’s tongue to the veil. [End Page 116]
Pot of peels and silver:you are for the robin, whose estatesare close to mine, most made of splinters,built of a right bone stood surely. Rakethe scales the dragon molted, cups of tinand green bottles shifting. Through me darkly,the same nest for our same living, nuts and pinsand amber where the heat is free. Mark meon the mustard island, underneath the loopsour neighbor makes, canopy of tails and fire,light me. I am the girl cigar, carved in chutesand ladders, best-buttoned, and half a choir,rolling to the robin birthday on a brown wingI borrowed: lend the shoulder. Come to cling. [End Page 117]
A simple hand is coldenough for pastry. Although a cat is hatched she playsthe mammal. Inside a pie, canaries humthe lazy hymn: a seed, a pudding, anda candle. Arrive in feathers, hard conclusion! press on me. I am a cat and wheeled in bagels,am sexed with cat’seye marbles, less than thumbs but morethan in the saddle. Just the birds in a hard belly, just the frosting of a ruddy cat who rides on vinyl, just the butter crust, justthe smacked uncrossing when I rise. Take me to sing and rust my private metal. All is hutches sprungat dinner, each a cat’s eye rolling inward. [End Page 118]
Mary Elder received an mfa in poetry at the University of Nevada–Las Vegas, where she teaches composition.