Jean Fogel Zee
Born In The Year
Love isn’t how you feel, it’s what you do.
We all know what it is to look back.
The rearview mirror or reflection
in the window, an old photograph,
music piped into the store, all of it
dated & familiar, a kind of mirage
pulling you along. No one told you
having a child was like taking a trip.
Traveling to an unknown land, his
blue eyes monoliths, his small hands
planets. A son born in the year of
orange moons and drives to Galveston.
When his life came unexplained,
without reference or foothold, your
uncharted maps fell to the floor.
Days became testaments to listening.
The silences between his cries
filled the house with questions,
questions stilled only by feeding,
changing, patting, holding. His
baby body a country without exile,
your own life unexplained, then
the silence again and night’s well.
The Moon Is Always Full
Remember the amaryllis?
Its thick stalk a flute,
cardinal blossoms fanning,
trumpets silent in their bursting,
like the body’s perfect aspiration.
One morning in the garden,
orbs of blue hover over broccoli,
and I saw them, the fairies, I did.
My eyes windows without blinds.
Remember the Douglas Fir,
rings of growth, bark like thunder?
Or the Magnolia? Its scent an intoxication
filling the night, a moment of relief.
What is it to ask the question
knowing there is no answer?
The moon is always full;
we see the crescent only
by what it is we do not see.
Leaning in the wind, trunks of trees,
gnarled branches of some great twist.
Merciless ocean, indifferent sky.
And I with beads unstrung
My love a seahorse, dances in the depths. She who is he
asks me to rise; scalloped bone, clavicle, metatarsal, calcine
nexus, sublime cartography, earth bound.
We walk, lifting our legs without trying. Hand in hand,
discarded maps, the doors keep turning, stairs stand still.
Beneath the orbit of our eyes, a neon homelessness.
Sand, earth’s prism, crust of lichen, ubiquitous itch,
there is no looking away.
Atlas, star bearer, keeper of constellations,
bow to the earth, your heavy head a stone,
the darkness gathering all that is unseen.
Bring the abyss, I will ride a bicycle into the sea,
the lucid air of midnight some god’s breath.
Sea Of Grass
Snakes shed, fires burn,
seeds go spinning in the air.
A praying mantis sits,
raptorial legs folded,
mandibles shredding, silent
to the trees singing leaves.
You have given everything
sweet earth: bluegrass,
slender grass, wheatgrass,
seas of grass where
wind’s invisible cauldron
apprehends, gravity’s proof,
our own arm hair rising,
mysterious as the moon,
and those tides at night,
pulsating with the stars.