I saw the town guard burning crops
outside the castle walls.
Cabbages carrots and corn stalks
drafting the wind like a fire cloak.
My niece has
been scrubbing my face with the sun
she can spare, falling out of her hair.
And rolling my
shirt collar round her fingers.
affections and asking me questions.
When they burn the corn how do they
know when it's dead?
It's dead when you've told yourself that it's dead.
Like a town? No. A town has a pulse.
You can feel a town's dead arm when it falls.
The pollen of
Marigold spreads across my back
in a slow
design trying to catch me off guard.
You look as
soiled as a moat, my bride says
as she turned
me around by the shoulder.
became dusters and brushes
and I became a
dust mat hanging from a rack.
You can't even keep yourself clean,
how can you
promise me you'll always be alive?
I said there
are warm arms and warm charades
warm songs and
endless toad murmurs
branches and wedding dances
place of this day.
And I can sing
but you will have to lead
the dance, for
I will stumble inside
my own mind's
music, my heady conversation.
A stone in a
burning cornfield. But I know
the only chalice your mouth ever gave
my hands was
to harmonize and to follow and
the only scepter your throne ever gave
my hands was
to deny you of your kingdom.
But I could hear you clapping for me,
through swarms and seas of clapping and I can hear you
now, through racing dogs and cafe girls and
coal dust boys all coming to our day.
And I can hear you pulling me, a pollenated stone
like a crown falling onto your shoulder.
And when I fell against you I could hear you say
"I can keep you in time but please don't stray."