Flathead Mother – 1910
Motionless inside a nympha, the dead who guard your back,
quilted in the landscape like undertones of words, named you then
Fathers of fathers and mothers of many generations
The name is the burn we carry upon
Pupils crowned – embroidered flowers all around
Streets of London
Two girls cut the road in front of me, at a traffic light.
They wear a white coat, large as a hot-air balloon.
If it were not for a hole in the middle of the chest, one says,
They’d take up flight and never come back.
Behind them, a man yells out words staring at a sun-coated cross
He says Love in four/four time
Catching the rhythm with his foot.
A whole human line follows his pace to the station
While stick figures are the sacred totems of the procession.
Nobody sees, nobody observes
And the vanishing snake in the ground
Marks the soul’s daily offering to the metro
Every journey matters
I straighten up my spine and move on
Freeing up my lungs with a sudden cough