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Prairie Schooner 80.3 (2006) 134-135
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Mineral Violence, and: Intelligence
Mineral ViolenceThe vast sadness of my family
is an ocean rehearsing its sorrow
against the intractable night.
By light we are careful, bruised and
beautiful as script, hair tangled
from evening's beating. We stoop
to inspect the night's debris
and do not recognize black
half-hearts of shell (that are ours),
wool of kelp. The jetty's battered
knuckles count the endless waves
rolling in. Watching birds drawn
as graphite on sky, we forget
our night deaths. I do not understand
this, nor our strange thick hair, only
that I am of it. Wheat of my mother,
father's beard of bees: I am their
provided. O mineral violence
release their salt traffic, their
hovering at sea. I will exist.
Give them what they want. [End Page 134]
IntelligenceI wake with a thirst for your body.
Stay in bed longer trying to create
it around me. What is intelligence
cast off into sea? I dive off some future
boat into clear green water, chanting
this is me, this is me. The bears asleep
in their distant winter charge the invisible
man again, and again, and do not wake.
Under the sea, I look up and comprehend
light spiraling out from a golden head.
Know I must reach it, but wait a bit
longer. In this water, I am absent, entire.
The spike driven into a fallow field
and forgotten, does not cower under
shrieking wind. With sorrow it seeks
the earth around it, its metal leaking
bit by bit, red and then black, and forever.