Tags: dorianne laux

Eva: Shadows of the deepest blue

On the Edge - Dorianne Laux

After your mother dies, you will learn to live

on the edge of life, to brace yourself

like she did, one hand on the dashboard,

the other gripping your purse while you drive

through the stop sign, shoulders tense,

eyes clamped shut, waiting for the collision

that doesn’t come. You will learn

to stay up all night knowing she’s gone,

watching the morning open
like an origami swan, the sky

a widening path, a question

you can’t answer. In prison, women

make tattoos from cigarette ash

and shampoo. It’s what they have.

Imagine the fish, gray scales

and black whiskers, growing slowly

up her back, its lips kissing her neck.

Imagine the letters of her daughter’s name

a black chain around her wrist.

What is the distance between this moment

and the last? The last visit and the next?

I want my mother back. I want

to hunt her down like the perfect gift,

the one you search for from store to store

until your feet ache, delirious with her scent.

This is the baggage of your life, a sign

of your faith, this staying awake

past exhaustion, this needle in your throat.

Buffy: Hello my life how I've missed you

2am - Dorianne Laux

When I came with you that first time
on the floor of your office, the dirty carpet
under my back, the heel of one foot
propped on your shoulder, I went ahead
and screamed, full-throated, as loud
and as long as my body demanded,
because somewhere, in the back of my mind,
packed in the smallest neurons still capable
of thought, I remembered
we were in a warehouse district
and that no sentient being resided for miles.
Afterwards, when I would unclench
my hands and open my eyes, I looked up.
You were on your knees, your arms
stranded at your sides, so still —
the light from the crooknecked lamp
sculpting each lift and delicate twist,
the lax muscles, the smallest veins
on the backs of your hands. I saw
the ridge of each rib, the blue hollow
pulsing at your throat, all the colors
in your long blunt cut hair which hung
over your face like a raffia curtain
in some south sea island hut.
And as each bright synapse unfurled
and followed its path, I recalled
a story I’d read that explained why women
cry out when they come — that it’s
the call of the conqueror, a siren howl
of possession. So I looked again
and it felt true, your whole body
seemed defeated, owned, having taken on
the aspect of a slave in shackles, the wrists
loosely bound with invisible rope.
And when you finally spoke you didn’t
lift your head but simply moaned the word god
on an exhalation of breath — I knew then
I must be merciful, benevolent,
impossibly kind.