Best of the Net 2012  

Casida of the Weeping

     To My Daughter at One Month, after Lorca

I listen to weeping spill from the roof
of your mouth, and I swing, with you in my arms,
through every room of the house
singing. This is what it's like
to be soaked in milk. This is what it's like to want
to run out into the rain with both hands
empty. I'm done being full
like a suitcase stuffed with a river
and all its swarms of rainbow trout.
But the rain could care less
because each second 4.4 mothers are born
while all over America radiators clang in the night
and caramel frappucinos are whipped into a frenzy
and 18-wheelers sail down the interstate past Tallahassee
where someone's painted the mailboxes black.
Somewhere in the heartland there are warehouses stacked with paper towels
and clouds stocked with puddles
and a gardener waiting for Our Lady of Immaculate Cauliflower
to step across the mud on tiny, miraculous feet.
There's just so much to ask for: may you please be
joyful, may you taste the nip of sweetness inside a clover bud,
may you drag a suitcase over the cobblestones that line Damascus Gate,
may you have a child that won't sleep
but that looks up from your breast with Gollum eyes at 3 am,
may your nipples spring leaks
and point like missiles aimed the wrong direction,
may you have as many warring tribes as Afghanistan
and fall in love and feel like an accordion
squeezed between ham-hock hands,
may you reel, may you cast a silver lure,
may you sketch the architecture of the heart a thousand times,
documenting the erasures in ink.
My greedy rosebud, my endless mouth, my immense
violin: sometimes I think I can not love you
enough. Sometimes I want to leave you on the steps in a basket woven from reeds
and wait for the Nile of your flooded eyes to carry you away.
Then I could be rocked by the waters of the bath
or fuck a stranger down by the lake.
Then I could wear a ball gown made of foam
or drink too many scorch-lengths of gin
or be any old squirrel I see scampering across the grass
but then wouldn't I be crazy
for the black walnut with its inscrutable shell,
for the juice of the hull that holds the meat, that stains the sidewalk, the patio,
that leaves the stucco of the house pockmarked with kisses
and is impossible just impossible to wash out?

- Katharine Rauk (from Pebble Lake Review)