deena linett

What Takes Us Down

The weight, as of seas heaped with swells,

of history streaked with Baltic tourmaline, rose

quartz and cobalt seamed with gold, pyrite

sparkling here and there along corridors of dark

that go all the way back to the beginning

--  and perhaps beyond.  Evil witnessed

and imagined, tides of vengeful wishes

those you know have told you

and intermittent daily showers of malice.

You thought it was Time.  It is

these that crease flesh, loosen its hold

on your bones.  These, wind in wild grasses,

creatures’ silver flickerings through groundwater

bearing blood and breath our Time is made of.

A Loaf of Bread

I called him on the margins of his name

-- Vallejo


Yet again I have spent my last

twenty-five dollars on a book of poems,

fat yeasty rolls, stones

warmed by hands like these, lyric

gatherings like coral, that living

substance that hardens, as speech does,

into some kind of reality.

The gods are just.  I left one man,

another’s leaving me. At the airport

in Atlanta, awash in rhythms past

remedy or remembering, I’m closer

to R, whose southern sounds even Newark

couldn’t harshen, J’s too-easy invitations,

David the sharecropper’s son.  From filament

flung fluid till fine strands shine they’ve spun

slender webs that catch the breath

in netted light and heavy air.

And I?  I play with stones,

pile them up in cairns, arrange their runic lines

to make corridors, doorways, walls, shafts:

architecture of what I cannot know

for people who have not arrived.

It was going to be grief, perfect

as ripe fruit, unblemished but longer lasting.

It was going to be peonies, thick

with lust and sweet as my thighs. 

Life rolls forward heavy, stupefied

by increasing velocity.  Perhaps bread

in stead of buildings.  The slow

invisible movement of yeast animals

engendering something we can savor but not save,

bread does not pretend to significance.


A recipe for loaves, time-worn and faithless:

for J: wildflowers dripping with color and the wet

from your mouth,

for A: music that throbs in your throat

and returns you to me

as to the clamor and necessity

of a holy city.

For Don: awe

which is love, and rage

to bake them in,

and for David: blood.

for Don Hall