Witness

Someone has lasered my eyes
So that today I see the eons-long
and willful daily suicide of the sun
its gilded rapier claws
scarring the edge of the world,

the resolute march of the telephone poles
into infinity
and the ribbon of the road
promising destination;

and more, the mirage of home
where an adobe was, a ruin
in the far shadows of the desert.

Take a closer look.
Someone who was painting
a river, dusty golden trees,
turns away from her easel,
repudiates her tubes of pigment,
rends her charcoal figure drawings,

goes now into the night of the kitchen
to hold the chalice of Cointreau
to her mouth.

Molten honey travels over
the circuitry of her brain,
the kitchen knives blurring;

the child reading a story
over and over
of a child who is happy,
may now be rocked to sleep.

ii

Even so did the night mother
ascend
from the wraith in the chair
in her shroud of grief,

to break the moon of the egg into
a dark clay bowl
summoning the girl:

Beat this for 100 strokes
stop sucking your thumb.

And all of this, the house
crumbling around us,
the cracks in the tear-shaped
Mexican glass in the dusk window,

the cat running into the traffic
I couldn’t stop,
nor her then dragging herself
toward me on two legs,

the little brother sobbing
and running, left behind,
scooping him up in my arms;

the mother in her soporific nod,
incontinent in her overstuffed chair
in stale rag doll light,

the father hooked up to an air supply
the long umbilicus,
sputum like tar in the sink.

iii

To see it all now
again and forever,
my comings home across
Wyoming

the hero-rescuer in her tiny red
Volkswagen, on I-80
and the great invisible
aguilar waiting for me,
that which obliterates, eviscerates,
carries away.

The risible sun with its silent cry
dying even as it burns on.

What it is to love those
perpetually leaving the world,
to be someone bearing witness
to all of this flaying in quicksand,
to see them go under,

to be unable to leave them
or stop fitting my own being
to their white and blinding bones.

c
copyright Jenne’ R. Andrews 2012

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