you are in the diode archives fall 2009




Father, I am seeking sanctuary
in the ossuary of remembrance

where we are all rounded down
to the bare bones of our lives.

Will you meet me there
and help me build a scaffold?

I can only know the scarred
places of my own body,

and I’m weak enough to admit
an examination of the wounds

I’ve inflicted on you might
leave me haunted.  I’ve piled

the broken bits and organized
my tools.  The trick is to find

which piece fits neatly to the other,
which new design offers up a healing.


Spiral Song—Father

Born of your spiral song, I blamed you
when the kettle of your marriage cooled
and mother turned to ice when you found

another darling.  It was the season of ginger
and spice when you returned, begging
at our knees.  The others embraced you.

I alone held back, a shadow in the cold
corners of that house.  Just a girl, I infused
my heart with bitter branches that lanced

and tore.  A wound like that refuses to heal,
won’t seal completely.  I admit, I watched
and waited while it festered and cracked.

Years later, in the midst of one love cooling,
I felt the pull to pour myself into the hands
of another man; I teetered on the brink

of cheating.  My blood, forced through scars,
reached a rolling boil until I eased away
from that black edge of infidelity.


Spiral Song—Mother

As my mother’s third and final daughter,
I follow her spiral song down
to the nesting grounds

where I’m forced to choose to use my womb
to incubate or not.  Coasting
through a covey of men

all stronger than my father, I opt for bare
tundra, the frozen soil that lies
beneath the feet

of my Nordic kin, the gilded plain bedecked
in arctic light.  I give my core up
to the consumption

of the cold and spiral outward into the razors
of the sun, sharp as the ice refracting
any offering of heat.


Triolet with a Line by Jean Sénac

Come walk with me under the low-slung stars
until the birds are buried again inside our blood,
sewn in with fishing line, leaving a jagged scar.
Come walk with me under the low-slung stars
while our love smolders like a thick cigar.
Our time swells and ends, fast as a flash flood.
Come hold me under the low-slung stars
until the birds are buried again inside our blood.

Italics are from “So What Are You Spain” by Jean Sénac, translated by Justin Vicari as published in American Poetry Review.  


Sandy Longhorn’ first book, Blood Almanac (Anhinga Press, 2006), won the 2005 Anhinga Prize for Poetry, judged by Reginald Shepherd.  New poems have appeared or are forthcoming in Hunger Mountain, The Indiana Review, New South, Quarterly West, West Branch, and elsewhere.  She is also the recipient of an individual artist fellowship from the Arkansas Arts Council.