Saturday, November 9, 1996

IN THE MIRROR


In the mirror, fish weave
in and out of light,
The gut-wrenching cry
of the war goddess,
the ancestor of kelp. A forest of death.
The Morrigan with the head of a crow
had a taste for men's eyes,
and my eyes become round stones
clacking on the shoreline.

What I remember
is my mother's hatred of her name.
I remember what she said,
the birthing pangs,
a generational inheritance,
this blood.
A cursory glance in the mirror,
my first gathering of words
on the lips: mama ma ma.

To see in the edge of the beveled mirror,
a nose or an eye strayed from symmetry,
or the long tang and surcease of the sea,
or renegade Picassos, mouths and breasts
migrating against ordinary reality.
The slow breathing of the long distance runner
asleep in the dream hills.
That's what poetry is.

Melish, the honeyed sweetness
of an ancestral language on the tongue.

As I drive down the road, I parse my face.
On the tip of the tongue
to see what mask it wears
all that remembrance
of blue verging on violet.
Why do I write? Because the mirrors
are infinitely larger than the fields.

Forgiveness, the color of mourning.
I need to see the mirror inside the mirror.
The accusing candle fingers of buckeyes
not just to touch its icy surface
but to taste the odor of other words,
and other worlds.
Flowers pointing up the dry creekbed
ask not what poetry can do for you,
they are lighting the solstice with their hue...

November 1996
National Poetry Week
North Beach Pasta Pomodoro