Five Little God Poems
Little God (Labrador)
I will not venture out into the flats.
Not today. It's Monday. And Sunday
serves us habitual grit and contemplation
as a dish of incremental coins collected.
See how the bivalves sit, still souls
found and kept and conveniently projected?
In currency we make ourselves a PowerPoint—
What otherwise is there in a cerulean atlas
half-cherrystone, half-almanac, both homespun
and mercurial with territories uncharted?
Little God, I give the bucket, rake, and boots a break.
The beds are out under the bay, little brine mines
with ordnance slow and benefits of happenstance.
Given or lent? We let them be and find ourselves.
We happen to our finding here. A tongue. A tanker.
We embrace two different kinds of Labrador—
the kind that hunts in perpetual haste
and that place which never asked to be discovered.
Little God (Calling)
Today I woke with my little black god
at my side as if clouds and their clung-love
of dust to vapor had risen elsewhere
and come hell-bent for this burnt range.
Call our love antithesis or antinomian:
My calling is a double negative, and if
I'm lost in walking than I'm working out a trail.
My little black god floats in the white of my eye.
Her spirit circles fresh water and rips up cattails
because they're there for ripping so too
the lilies that spool from one self into many,
then asphodels who lend the lay-low bog
small clues aspiring towards verticals.
Look at me and then tend to your fields, says she,
the clover murmur and little white beds
like baby canines in treat fields intent
on tasting also-rans and yet-to-runs:
wake with whom you've chosen or who chooses you.
Little God (Sext)
When the day as potential ticks off towards noon
my little black god gets hungry and needs her mouth.
The better life is one we have to reconcile
with this one: who chooses, who picks, who fusses?
Who knows if breadcrumbs will bring finches
as when children dream up candy houses as their cages?
The day becomes its own noon, then after.
Every version of hungry cuts itself new teeth.
My little black god readies for her evensong;
So say the red-eyed, gray-green canopied singers
who start like flint because the summer sun
could smoke their wings right out from over them.
When we wait for the god to burn their singing,
it's a soundtrack some find lovely and others wicked.
Little God (Estuary)
When the blue goes black, day done, lamps can blanch the dusk.
When late sessions of talk turn quiet, one volunteers to head home.
One gets in one’s car. Slot. Key. Dash of unearthly green light.
Turn. Some quick internal flare lifts to a low burn.
When the gravel crush goes near to far, quiet steps in, looms large.
When the light gets cut, outside comes in and claims the room.
One feels outside, hopeful to find himself under stars.
Thank you, one says, when clouds roll back and reveal one winter planet.
When the summer comes, crowds will fill the flood plain.
When the leaves leave, the-bucket-and-pails take flight.
One feels the bay’s best solitaire come winter’s February,
an oysterman at night out harvesting his bone-chill tidal bed.
When one heeds the sky-lovely swollen bruise, star-spat cultch,
fat and purple swell, out of the violet come blue-gray options.
When a space feels broad and empty like a chest,
One fills it with whatever heart one can.
Little God (Crush)
Towards imperial tones, her stories move
from whisper to loudspeaker, rural children
who push a heavy wooden boat to the sea—
the marvels of harvested salt whose source
they have decided they must see for themselves.
They bring out the epicurean in me,
he who settles for salt on his supper.
It is enough. It adds a flavor.
I am all for vestiges and seasoning,
a flirt for whom suggestion is preferred.
So many tales and their forbidden engines:
She talks and turns her couture voice to crepuscule,
a late-lovely afternoon whose bleaching fades.
I am a man among men in white shirts.
She is a woman among women in black veils.
The words that she is saying, they are gray
claims that desire serves as our transgressor—
I want to ask of her how I might heal
myself so fully of that poverty.
The landscape I wish is lush and green,
verdant, even, despite my seeing
yellow tethered blossoms of come-hither.
What’s upon me is not separate any longer—
these blossoms on a pond of carp provide
immediate clouds and steeples of felt shade.
A man sings to a full house of white shirts,
a woman to an empty auditorium
less dilapidated as her voice is beautiful.
She becomes the salt without which I can’t eat.