Here, where the heads of tombstones grow
like winter-flowers, pushing through the crust
of earth on stems as strong as boys' necks,
with faces engraved by experience, with hair
tippled gray by visitors' stones:
Here is where I visit you. No summer
airplane trips south to stucco villas,
no buttondown dresses imbued with the smells
of dillweed and suntan lotion. This
city doesn't have a smell. The shock
of buried memory must be coaxed, drawn
like liquid from under your marbled surface.
Drawn like water from deep in a dustbowl.
Blood from a fist of wax.
Here in this city where the tombstones
crack the dirt, where their
heads reach for heaven even as their feet
are harnessed in earth,
aging bodies stopped in time,
as if in this world
they could have only grown obscenely old —
Here, where you stand
with the freeway at your back, I think you
may never pass through.
I kneel down on the ground, I
scrape in the dirt with my nails to make
a row of shallow furrows.
Just as the tombstone heads are half
in the earth, half in the air, I want you
to come to me again, to whisper
to me in the in-between where I'm still waiting,
half-waking, half-sleeping. Come
as the dybbuk you are to these watery
seeds and homemade graves, the place that I
plant from memory, to grow a city of you.
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