Both nights he comes to me I'm bleeding,

complete in my lost country. Underwater sun,

its occult flower on fire, the place

no one can claim. I still want him inside me.

This time he says he's met someone. His eyes

make a mirror I fall into deeper

than the hurt place in my belly. There I am, reflected.

he's here to fuck me, says he can't decide.

I want to get fucked, put my hand inside his pants,

find no need for persuasion. for now

I hold him; now, for fun,

for where he puts his mouth.

I don't tell him I am bleeding.

I won't say his name.

Before he leaves he lays entire along my body,

outs his mouth on mine. I lock the door behind him.

I don't say I love him.

I won't ask him to come back.

He will come, my blood between us.

Imagine the mother. She searches for a daughter

made to marry, forced down the long orchard to the well. No child 

in a white dress. Her mouth goes blind, stitches the web of evening

in distress. She doesn't see the new tree, one arm outstretched.

Or the tree is the mother. Too many children, a hard man.

She looks for a mushroom, the certain kind.

Finds one, picks off the dots and stops

to watch the deer. Puts one finger to her lip

and turns to wood, one arm an outstretched bough.

Rooted in her time she crosses centuries to pose

against my autumn night. Yes. These are her children grown

and buried just beyond. How I can tell she was a woman:

lightning laid her face bare. Bark striated hair. The trunk

shattered and clefted marks her woman. Wounded.

No. She was a native girl or somehow wild dreaming

open-mouthed, fingers outstretched

collecting camas bulbs for winter starch. She wants to live

with animals, flaunts her impure chastity against the earth;

decades march across my century. One woman's life

bound in sap rings. Clay-green. A root. A home. Seed

in this field of risen stone. Living open.

Rough enough.

                       THE BOUNDARIES OF LONGING
The two walk down the road. There is almost rain

and many crows. The narrow road is edged by ditches,

the couple laughing and not looking. A car passes fast and close. One of them walks

in the ditch laughing. Does it matter who walks off the edged grass?

This is where the poem starts, the other standing in the road making a story.

She has to have the crows in it and flowers, wonders if it works to leave him in the ditch.

The crows want in the poem but what really happens? The couple walk

between the car and ditch down to the sea, her telling what the natives say:

crows are spirits, dead ancestors. Nothing happens

except rain, their naming birds and flowers

for each other: pussy willow, cormorant. the road ends

at the walled garden, old and orderly run wild.

When the air warms she will come and swim 

with him where currents fluctuate. She can't say how she knows this

but what if the crows are still trying to write a poem? Take two people laughing,

one walks in the ditch, the other falls or climbs in too. The crows

can't tell if the circles their feet stir in mud and water

are struggle or their leaning on each other, their progress to the road

crowded by blossom. Cherry blossom, petals pink.

Water the only other witness.

The water separates from mud and trouble,

finds one clear stream down to the sea.

The crows lift wing upon black wing across the sky.

Girls wore loose flowery dresses then with all those buttons

up the back. The school was brick long iron

fire escapes climbed

three stories high. We skipped, rolled marbles,

called red rover.

A little girl lived beside the Catholic Church

across a bridge and hill.

She wore striped grubby dresses without underwear

and smelled like pee and sour powdered milk.

When she came back from lunch she smelled like beer

and giggled when she climbed the fire escape.

Then we played the other game; under black iron

boys crowded looking up her fat bare legs.

Girls around the edges. Looking up.

Pretending not to.