Eminent Domain Tanka

By | 5 December 2019

Said her husband once
of her eyes fed to the cats
why weep at the sight

of small, outstretched hands, my love
morning we’ll go South


Fleeing, too late, bodies
crash, necks snapped on the clean sill
brief fleshy light—

Victor Jarra’s hands
ripped, ligaments flung like song.


River, rows of blackberries
decorate lips, beard, cheekbones.
August snaps done, lost.

Who leaves now becomes
homeless, hawks fly; crows descend.


What hides tiny snakes
in the holes of its dark walls:
the Damascene house—

Bassamat’s face spells
home, her tongue’s tip on fire.


On a woman’s face
a rust blemish lit up by
a surveillance flare—

Shut-up now, Marie.
They are closing in quickly.


Child by the Sahel
lighting through acacias
just lucid dreaming.

He wakes up angry,
devours a memory—


Night: old lady scrapes
the light in the mustard field,
just to scare the trees

Outside the big house,
a father scalps his lawn down—


Hummingbird returns,
hears Milosz read “A Song on
the End of the World”—

She hangs clothes outside,
smells fire in the air, sighs—


Rain, gooseberries, heart-
beat—she conjures Dickinson
knocks her heart down, sighs:

this love hurts badly
Return before it’s too late.

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