On the ash bough,
I hang the wish
ribbon beside the threads
of others pleading miracle.
Red silk and curling orange
satin, a pulled piece of tartan
cloth, and here a work shirt hem,
they twist and twirl
into their decrepit end.
With the rot, the wish
ripples out to change
the rainy world.
Beneath the ash bough,
a thousand remnants,
the scraps of desire done
with dancing on a string
and set down to earth,
an odd mulch. What of those
ribbons plucked by birds
and used for multicolor havens?
There are wish nests
in the tall trees nearby.
Who sees to them,
the air, who traverses
its own way? A child
summer frolics in my mind,
I fear my eyes will never see. I hang
the wish, turn it tight and watch it spin.
Philomela teaches a child to sew
Our fingers butterfly through window bars to winged testaments.
What rough wounds we carry, their scars, are meant to be cleansed.
Allow the clanging tune of your own blood to slip
from your ears as a stream. You are a nightingale’s water, meant to cleanse.
His sin can not taint for ever. These two white cloths parallel
your body, and the needle, how he marred. To sew is meant to cleanse.
After he poisoned me with his sex, he cut my tongue from the root,
watched it flop on the floor. An unstringed guitar is still meant to cleanse.
He silenced you with threat, with the perversion of love’s touch.
I am as wide and seeing as the night, he said. You are the star, meant to cleanse.
We will braid hair and sunlight into this colored thread,
make a woman’s robe of twisted beauty, a woolen memoir, meant to cleanse.
A single strand can be alchemy, transmute envenomed intentions into elusive liberty.
Muted queen and child, we are more than shards; we are meant to cleanse.
He tells the other soldiers
before they go about their killing
that his woman at that moment
bakes bread to scent the house,
that for nearly one year she has baked
a different loaf and wrapped it tight
in cellophane so that he can see
her heart beating. The mail, too slow,
she points the computer’s camera
at the perfect loaf, says smell, and he does
through the screen. A viscous melody flows
down the nose into the open throat,
and he sings a moan of the familiar.
Every week, a different loaf – raison,
banana nut, vanilla and peach – that he smells
first before the children devour
the bread that their love sets.
He tells the other soldiers
that when he goes home the curtains will exhale
the breath of bread, pears, cinnamon.
He tells them he wants to be like bread,
kneaded by her fingers, filled with sweetness,
baked within her oven body, then he carries
the gun and fills his eye light with darkened glass
and dust. That very afternoon a woman will wait
for her man. The house will smell of bread,
spice and sweat, and then suddenly copper.
Copyright © Raina J. León, 2013