2 poems by e. ramsey
What did you bury here,
What did you leave so deep in the ground
That dirt tattooed under your fingernails?
It wasn't a perfect funeral,
Nor a funeral at all.
You simply threw it under the eucalyptus leaves and hoped it would sleep in peace.
You carved into the tree with your teeth.
You carved: Don't come back.
What made you feel so much has left,
Has become decrepit in old age,
Has longed to be back just as much as you.
Eucalyptus leaves cover that place,
Long and bony.
You want to throw gravel and dance in it.
You want to swim.
You want to walk through fruited flowers and be happy. But you can't. You can't.
Temptation tugs at your years,
Begging to be fed.
You're begging too, tears pulled out of the well you dug,
Each droplet a letter of "I miss you."
You let it be robbed.
You let it be destroyed.
What made you leave it so cleanly?
You let it be desecrated from the inside.
You are leaving it still.
You see your family in need but there isn't a shovel in sight.
Soft and wet, dark coffee colored soil.
You could dig forever.
You should dig forever.
For all the time you buried alive,
A little self-flagellation wouldn't hurt,
The dirt against your back like a cold cold rein.
If somebody died here, speak.
The mourning rains dig plenty deep,
Dig plenty well.
A single daughter you were,
Curled inside the womb of roots
Sinking slowly as you cried.
Like a babe, you clutched to your chest
One red tile
And a bouquet of eucalyptus leaves.
The best way to grieve is to live with it
Live in it
Die in it if you must.
Bury your soul until it can walk again.
As a second birth, a birth in reverse,
You can and you will be able to breathe.
Be not afraid of the soil that still clings.
Be not afraid of your home.
She pulls out her ponytail and shakes,
Releasing the scent of her shampoo into the air.
For a moment, she looks like a dandelion bustling in the wind
Until her mop settles into waves down her neck.
She puts her hands above her head in sleep,
And suddenly she is stuck in Greek myth.
Either she raises her arms to avoid another tragedy,
Or lifts the world on her fingertips.
Sleep, my titan child.
The world will wait for your hands.
She blushes against the crush of bodies,
Rosy to a clumsy touch.
For an eternity of a moment,
She imagines falling toward heaven,
Upside down in her own head.
She melts on a hearth, on a memory, on imaginary fire.
Her fingers, so delicate, slip into the clouds.
Her body, so protected before, lingers in the crush of bodies.
She comments that this place must be heaven.
A cool summer night, cloudy,
Streetlights shining dreamlike over the surface of the earth-
Something is suspended for a while by telephone wires.
Her heartbeat heavy and spasmodic, but not labored,
Feeling like a gulp of ice water.
She repeats the invocation that this place must be heaven.
Hypnotizing static buzzes overhead, stars further up,
Funneling into her glassy eyes.
I can believe that.
In these moments she feels outside herself,
Watching the part of her that longs to be beautiful.
She coaxes the gentle, bright magic out of its cavern piece by piece.