From the unseen sea
my mother brought a crab
wrapped in a silken wave
that hugged him like home.

I remember the knocking
of his claws on the wooden floor,
his boisterous brown certainty
that the sea was behind the door.

For two days he roamed my room,
on the third he understood.
His twinkling pinheads
stared and stared at me.

I promised to carry him back,
where I did not know.
He waited, dry, in a pine box
for a year before it was lost.

The dragonfly-god took it away
and flew at once to the sea,
knelt in the lazurite sand
and wrenched off the latch.

I never knew
that it takes a death
and a broken promise
for a dream to come true.



Loaf of bread

I gathered the grains
of my past days
and baked a loaf of bread
with my own hands.

A loaf of bitter bread,
grey flour mixed with chaff,
lay on the palm of my hand,
pitted and charred.

I offered this loaf to the gods,
but they didn't want to eat
and turned their delicate noses
to the cloud-smeared chrysolite.

I offered this loaf to my father,
but he'd been in the ground too long,
his hands shot up like fir-trees,
a thick root slid through his tongue.

I offered this loaf to my dog,
but he only barked at it
and dropped it at my threshold,
all bitten and stained with dirt.

I tried to eat myself
the loaf of my past days,
but I didn’t have
enough hunger and teeth.

So I gave it to my soul
clothed in unfading array
like a wind-wound exquisite doll
made of future and clay.

She nodded and nodded her head,
and her earrings jingled so
gently as, chewing the bread,
she dropped crumbs on the floor.

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