luna :: patricia traxler

Can this be the same one that beckoned then,
dazzling, zaftig, generous, from its bright eternity?
I remember its pull on the skin, its promise—we felt it
then, called it love, or knowledge.

Tonight it looms, flat as a coin, unspent, curiously cold.
Luna. Glyphs of warning. Was it always so? How can I
know—time transfigures everything, even memory.
You. Did you think it could save us?

Summer night, a beach in Mexico, sweet rot of seaweed; I stole
from a tent, stood in the sand beneath the swollen moon;
vapor of sex rose from my skin in the chill, black air.
Between waves that lashed the land I heard my heart;
fierce, unfamiliar din of desire; knew I was changing
everything, knew the damage, yet I stayed.

Tonight a light spring rain soaks the garden past my window,
the earth all moonlit, astir with emerging crocus. I could go
out there now this minute, be in it once again, the clamor
and gnaw of growing things, stir of limbs in the wet raw air,
my skin taking it in, what remains.

But no, let it sleep, let the limbs, the longings. After a time one becomes accustomed to a mild, dreamless expanse, and it’s possible to settle there, inviolate, for as long as it takes. And there, the moon, aloof in its realm, see how it endures so well without us.

dragonfly :: patricia traxler

He hovers just above the glittering
current, iridescent green in morning
sun. How does he manage to stay there
at the peripheries of his own desire,
keeping that exquisite distance till
he’s certain he can have what he
needs and he takes it then with flashing
tongue (your tongue’s wet flicker
and prod, how you knew to hold back
till the pleasure was a pain I’d die for
and the taking a perfect kill) the dragonfly
stays poised at the edge to have his fill
and his eyes never close, hour after hour
he hovers at the edge until the light goes.

the sign :: patricia traxler

It might have been a Hitchcock movie:
The Butterflies. They were in the air
everywhere, over cobbled streets, across
the highway and the railroad tracks

at Linz, kamikaze butterflies dashing
windshields, a floating wall of white aflutter
in the air like crumpled tissues; beauty
metamorphosed into pestilence. On the train

the mood endured. We settled into a cluttered light,
the car’s chatter, accelerating rhythm of the rails,
everything at once remote and intimate. Your eyes
were your father’s dark eyes. Out the window

in the fog a freight yard heaped with scrap iron,
stacked ties, refuse; the sign just a flicker
above the gate, unreadable. Opposite us, a drowsy
worker. Arbeiter. Blond, like me, blue-eyed.

Everyone I see here, I wonder. A slow silence solidified
the air; paraffin. I turned my eyes to the window like
evidence to hide, drowned them in the Danube. After
a while you found my hand and held it right next to

your ribs. The worker dozed. Your heart beat
against my knuckles as we watched the land slip by.
Blue Danube. It moved, inelectable as history, all
the way to Vienna it moved alongside our train.

articles of faith :: patricia traxler

What about these jonquil bulbs that bear and bloom
year after year beside the porch, as if the hand
that planted them decades ago were still
in the world to hail their bounty? And what
of the doe who comes from the woods to the edge
of the north field every evening, standing
calm beside the rude highway that cuts
through her heaven, as if nothing were there
but the silence of wheat. Not knowledge,
but belief. Or our voices leaping back
and forth over the wire, conjuring
presence, as if distance and time and a life
were nothing. (Think how time must prove itself
constantly through movement, inventing observable
change.) Not having, but desiring. Your palm
on my belly, fingers warm over hipbone, pulse
of your wrist twinned in the cells of my skin. Not
photograph, but memory. Consider this: the Word
made flesh. Oh, I know what love is. I once saw
the heart still beating in the carcass of a butchered hen.