Early in the MorningWhile the long grain is softening
in the water, gurgling
over a low stove flame, before
the salted Winter Vegetable is slicedfor breakfast, before the birds,
my mother glides an ivory comb
through her hair, heavy
and black as calligrapher’s ink.
She sits at the foot of the bed.
My father watches, listens for
the music of comb
My mother combs,
pulls her hair back
tight, rolls it
around two fingers, pins it
in a bun to the back of her head.
For half a hundred years she has done this.
My father likes to see it like this.
He says it is kempt.
But I knowit is because of the way
my mother’s hair falls
when he pulls the pins out.
Easily, like the curtains
when they untie them in the evening.
from Rose, BOA Editions, Ltd., 1986.
I put on your shirt
and rubbed my nose
on your collar
to remember the smell
of your chest on mine.
I fit a finger on each
button, finding them
stiff and unfamiliar
without the usual
press of desire.
You’re still fresh here,
my sheets still reeking,
where only last night
we lay like two commas,
curled around each other.
And only this morning
I pulled your tongue
into my mouth
so our bodies could talk,
but there was silence.
On March 28-31, 2014, we asked a national sample of 2,066 Americans (fielded via Survey Sampling International Inc. (SSI), what action they wanted the U.S. to take in Ukraine, but with a twist: In addition to measuring standard demographic characteristics and general foreign policy attitudes, we also asked our survey respondents to locate Ukraine on a map as part of a larger, ongoing project to study foreign policy knowledge. We wanted to see where Americans think Ukraine is and to learn if this knowledge (or lack thereof) is related to their foreign policy views. We found that only one out of six Americans can find Ukraine on a map, and that this lack of knowledge is related to preferences: The farther their guesses were from Ukraine’s actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene with military force.
Source: Washington Post
Abaude with a Fox and a Birthmark
You crawl into bed, apologies and insect wings
in your hair. I forgive the way you touched her knees,
your amber memory of her body. I make you tell me
how her pleasure sounded - a fox with its paw
in a trap’s jaw, blood on her thigh. I want to hear
how freckles on her stomach made constellations
of unlucky numbers. I want to stroke her curls with you,
the wild, tangled river that smells of limes and oleander.
I want to knot my fingers in her hair. Make a necklace
of it. A noose of it. Tell me all the ways she’s not
like me - the chrysanthemum tattoo on her lower back,
how her dress slid from her body like smoke,
the crushed strawberry of a birthmark on her
right breast. Each detail - a needle, a hook, a new tooth.
She knew to cover the moonstones around her throat
when she laughed, to use a bone spoon in caviar,
to open beau soleil oysters like gnarled music boxes
swollen with dead songs. You can’t remember where
I was born or the name of the daughter we lost,
but you remember dogwoods arched against
the window, her dog cried as it dreamed of snow.
I let you kiss me so I can get close enough to find her
smell on your body. You nip my clavicles, the left side
of my ribs. You think sex is a sacrament. The host
in your mouth. Blood on your tongue. But nothing
will save us. We lie in bed and don’t speak, use crickets
to count minutes, a swarm warning the end of summer.
from The Rookery, Southern Illinois University Press, 2010.