- poems from the cycle "Savior Salt"
In a world of fighting shadows you lived two last
years, mother, in Chesapeake Bay
Breathing the word love
When there was no salve.
A train carrying yellow phosphorus derailed in
western Ukraine, releasing a cloud of toxic gas into the
air over 14 villages.
You close the paper which you cannot read anyway:
you are blind.
The radio, however, is on:
''A disaster has happened. After the Chernobyl
catastrophe we are dealing with a case that can pose a
real threat for our people,'' said Kuzmuk. ''It is an
extraordinary event, the consequences of which cannot be
"Turn it low," you tell the aid. Local
residents were advised to stay inside, not to use water
from wells, eat vegetables from their gardens or drink
the milk produced by their cows.
She hears it anyway, her hearing acute, can hear a
sparrow fall off a branch.
Local residents were advised to stay inside, not to
use water from wells, eat vegetables from their gardens
or drink the milk produced by their cows.
"The coal corruption in China," you sigh,
"The shaky nuclear
industry in Nippon."
No one hastened to your death
Though the funeral bell
Was near they could not believe you would not rally
one more time:
Like rust iron, the clang rang, the subdued summer
Knell in hell
When your own child burned, & gestured like Christ,
like a scarecrow spine aflame
& you wait till morning to call a child-doctor, to
How champion a mother's life
She was not (living by the Bay,
having cut her teeth on Shakespeare)
beyond the power of speech
But where was love?
Still critical of people
She could not work it out:
Denial was the icon
dusty glass bubbles at the rim from the diver by her
Instead of an embrace, she traced
Her slowed downrace
To its brace
Like a rusty dove, fatally bulleted, bleeding
To her dovecote
Below on earth
Below on earth
Outlined as on onionskin paper from above.
"Translation is part of the after-life of a work."
What come to hand, to mind are winding rivers
Water of sparkling Chesapeake Bay
A miraculous crossing
How does one move forward, water folded over the arm
Like a blanket
To make a bed.
Other peoples? daughters
In the morning we lost electricity
In afternoon water:
The solitude of stadium
We speak a river language
A damsel fly settles on
In Finland snow crunches
In Toronto, it sends up a shower.
We offered a guest a mini pie in a pyrex.
Glass over crust
With Saskatoon berries, resembles a clear cup behind
Mother told the ugly world to stop & let her off.
Will you land on a safe runway?
Scenario it out.
Eloquent sets of pipes down south write me
Who become bitter
That the help can swim in a pre-day drizzle. Lucky
What can one expect?
No envy? Tumor & sleeplessness, a river language
this, it thrives.
No finishing school for swans, these irons, these
cobalts are the crude pigments of our lives.