Two Poems by Melissa Kwasny


Found in Willow Springs 65

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Pictograph: Bizarre Anthropomorph, Often with Interior Body Decorations

Note left foot with interior spiral. Note the torso, storehouse of resins and gums. We have been here before, counting as we step down. Counting: tool of the magicians. Perhaps the Hopi are right, that we emerged from the earth, like bears. Perhaps that is why we carry the earth-jars inside us. We recognize our companions as they pass on the left. By drift of sage, an iridescence of throat armor. The gay men have cues, a plain or plaid bandana, in the front pocket or the back, as the gangs do. Erratics: the field of our remains. A scientist on the radio says that, contrary to past belief, the damaged brain can learn to heal itself. We can take back our pogroms, we could pray the blind to see, perhaps two leaders, enemies, who will stop now. Thoreau died whispering 'Indians' and 'buffalo,' it is said. We do sometimes get to choose our lives. Set in motion, as it has been explained to me.


My First Ermine

The guide says they mate in summer but implantation is delayed, a total gestation of almost a year. Little ermine, slow to catch, like a flame. Like the awful photos in the magazine of the young woman at Abu Ghraib posing next to corpses with her gesture: "thumbs up." Mothers, start again, remember your place in this. The earth is softening. The war is still on. Hello, the pines are all tail. Changeling of the season, mark our betrayal now. A bomb amid the people at the holy shrine. It is time to calm the children. To spread petals on the old. Seed packets: a ceremonial prosody. Cooped up, as they say, with the body and its obsessions, laying our pale eggs, with the rest of them, in wet straw. The ermine trills inside the woodpile and shows his white face once. I take away the dog who is barking at it. What is the ritual? Tell us again? At night, only moon, visit your invisible ones.

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