Featured Poet

Melissa Buckheit


( Tucson, Arizona )

End of Summer

You are the beautiful
against my nipple 

but the red cup, a raspberry
is yours


you hold up your hand
an oracle perhaps

while I sleep on into the night  
another monsoon or not

displaced from water to
this curtain of heat 

long ago

the goats you tended 
in New Mexico answered you

deep bleats and soft eyes meeting yours
their white bearded heads

and your palm above 

my left breast, the heart


as the water moves out of the city
into the earth

White Goddess

                 How long you sleep
				female without a head,
			now piled sand       by a friend in capris.

Say the head is separate from the body.

On this shore (Pacific), I house bliss   drowning

						squares   whose   perimeters   do   not
	run ninety degrees drop
				     off the face,
reappear as rosebush in Chinatown balcony—

					I grip your neck,
					not yet alive I

  while the poet lies beside you
			caresses your ear, educates Sun

							            I am the eye
				the poet disinherits


If it’s parallel to Greece, they are building a subway system, a métro to reach all over Athens. Loosening the stones of the Plaka, I might cry. Tunneling deep into the city, a (warm) animal who has never been asleep, only accumulating layers, rings, pleasure upon pleasure, domus on domus. Suddenly it’s dark, you enter, the train is slow, creeps before a sudden surge through the sheath under the city, rails cut out. They’ve walled off in glass or plexiglas markers and maps of domi, I pretend they are (Roman) (some are) only seen from the entrance of each age, horizontal terra half-walls, white stone, form compounding form, split diagonal running headlong into 300 years later. This time just a slit of rubble sandwiched for the eye. Kiss me while we pass them – our homes, destinations, entrances. Beneath the light shoals of a small inlet caressing Cape weeds, marshland, thicker salt than any Mediterranean name, the same métro beneath surf, sun-reflected wave. An archipelago can be made of sand only two meters wide, by noon it has receded like salt flung over a boat to clarify. Eyes to the plexiglas. A wife who rarely strayed from her square house sleeps, powdered bones and stone, vacuum-packed air separated by a line of glass. We may live in the shoal, hours to float salt-weight, breathing mirror under sea.

Found Body

                I have traveled two coasts
in a given year, and not seen the sun from either side
as the moon we see in ourselves

cool, female, indolent—
			     I have not seen her. 

              	In every case, not here

and when I return, it will be easier to pretend

	   	    direct and impersonal enough,

              fresh limes on sale in the T station

        displaced immigrant we mistake for American
		         or vice versa    Black, queer, Asian faces

allowing me my freedom. 	

          	      I can pass and do I care
to call attention to the change
         yellow rain of the desert   steady as air,
				always as clean.

You drive eighty or thirty mph
			    no one knows.

It is a line, a very straight line on the horizon 
  					we feel

as I remember the sky near Taos,

                                        or rather my own face 
   under its weather.

I want no lovers on the mind  no	 

 body distinguishable 
                                        from desire.

Always One Direction

If I could I would walk right out of here

the hundred lives we are meant to live    

	 	and can’t 
			       won’t forgive the moment of death
even in elation

	      the gauze wrinkles up against the chin,
the skull sways,
                                a clear grip from behind. 

Wrap me in a clean ball and
				drop me in the hole.
My hair parted evenly

my limbs symmetrical in the box,

                          we are satisfied

leapt from the carriage of a thick-bellied plane

one more language      embraced by gravity,

	      			blown the hell out of here.

  Brains, skin & meat
	                  did I say you could roll back like eyes 

I have no memory of who she was

	and her lover jammed on the bed

				 fucking (tenderly)
a last time, back to mouth,

                   and she never turning to see the face,

       as she came,
		      of the woman who held her.

There was hand and swell—

There was dog like an animal dog

	ugly ass and shine

dead bones
		under the glow of a pink bulb

      slow shuddering of tears

  the sea,
	      I could have pushed her into,
				        or myself

      sea without circuit    always one direction

where the sand pulls out
			     a deep caress to the soles,
		we could become—

            never have to see each other again.

Week of Stations

People in fields fold their hands.  We hover
where the wheat grew shorter this
season, this field among us, gray from harvest.

A young wife and her lover at 2 a.m.,
roll over the glass where window shot-through, 
and scattered over their spooning. 
Young wife breathes from her lover in the bed, 
red and sheared bright with their skin.
He holds her scalp in his slim hands
and washes brown with cold water,
from a pump in the kitchen.  Who
she shivers as he grinds nails 
from her hair, the bare sunlit room.

She is over seventy missing three teeth 
she lost at thirty, her husband is short. 
We are farmers the shingle broke her in half
when the sky went black we work in fields, live—
How old is the house?  She is leaving.

They are fucking in the upstairs bedroom,
the sound turned off.  Her lips are caught between
the thighs of a woman.  Love each time shall be
different.  Water, salt.  The black eye he gave her
shines in the moonlight as she comes.

December, a flurry of bees where we came together.
Our palms opening from the same small lake.
I wore green, like the water, rocks grown with algae.
She beats the waves he leaves behind, 
tell him how she will not breathe down there.

In the field my friends 
early April with a feast and cloudless day.  I left all 
the doors open, ready to burn where the girls 
took to grass with grapes to feed each other. 
Which mouth is hers, is mine.  Lips and tongue go red 
against any sky, our color, our homes.

Note: “Week of Stations” originally appeared in Laurel Moon, a literary magazine run by students at Brandeis.

I - Into the Shelter of Dark Caves
II - In This Bend of Quiet
III - Silhouette of a Plume
IV - The Loose Connections

Review: Desi Di Nardo

Current Issue - Fall 2008