Saturday, August 3, 2013

On the Third Anniversary of My Language Sister’s Death

I've narrowed many wild life tunnels without Kobi, my very first language sister, for three long/short years now. We shared a boiling language. We reveled in poems, in books and music and silence. Her writing smoldered; her poems are embedded in my body. Still, most days, I think of her. Precious when I feel the rush of the ink-blood we shared. I yearn for her midnight notes, her brutal dry humor, her raw compassion. I wish more than anything for a letter or a book in the mail; her excitable, crooked handwriting. No pen in the world could keep up with her speeding thought-train. Still I feel a halting shock when I see her picture: she is gone. Gone her biting, knowing smile.

Read a Lorca poem in Kobi's memory. Listen to a Joni Mitchell or Cat Power song. Laugh when you get caught in construction. Write letters when everything goes quiet in the cobalt hours of night. Give yourself with all the might and force you own. It was exactly this kind of blueskied, sun-buttered day when she died.

Mail Payment To
for KL, always

God only knows how many people leave sticky notes for their dead, 
Pens pressed against slump-shouldered memories. 
We crawl into the safety of our sister's slit wrists. 
We soak in that nest of nerves. I scream 

Down the freeway in my criminal lingerie. The horizon 
Lowers its damp standards and I am still how many breaths away 
From your last? I live in blown fog. I trace your face with matches and Hold your poems, their rivet written in the ash of my ire. 

Since then unbrushed teeth and sad mascara, the smudge of sunlight 
Across my unawake, hair looped and stabbed by some sharp debt: 
A paintbrush, a pencil---Sweetheart, expose your wild words. 
Come now, I am a member of the meat packers union, a milkmaid 

Leaking sweet down the street. 
Last night you came in and scattered 
A fistful of teeth: they stood like little tombstones at my dreaming feet. 
Who leaves sticky notes for their dead to read later?

You forgot your wine-stained books, you 
Forgot your blooming daughter. I still wait 
For the mail, your frantic news. 
I still say your name and bury you.

First published in The Café Review, fall 2010.


August 1, 2013