Ruth Daigon: Four poems


Like an ideal tenant
the bullet fits precisely in the wound,
closer than a friend,
a relative, a lover.

Removing it, what can we
give the body in exchange
to accommodate it
half so well?

Always the unexpected caller,
it only sleeps with strangers,
never fails to find the perfect host,
and it in turn

becomes the perfect guest
bringing no gift but itself,
demanding nothing. Lying
cradled in the flesh,

never struggling to emerge,
cushioned in that hollow
as if it knew each curve,
it wraps itself in silence.


In a continuum of clean sheets
and white nights
I sleep with my watch
secure on my wrist
and balance on
the year's narrow edge.

I know some small things:
the first frost sweetens,
the second kills.

In my secret world, light
shines like dandelions
gone to seed in a moonscape
and a single tree
draws me to the ferny
underbelly of woods.

As birds wing
in old departures,
I'm ambushed by petals,
leaf mold, earth crust
and a shock of sky.

In a future that resembles now
I learn to pat death
like a dog, it's growing
so familiar. When I pick flowers,
they root in my palm, tendrils
lace through fingers.

Long after they fade
I'm wrapped in their silk
as I rest in the tall grass
absolutely still
like a stone warmed by the sun
denting the earth.


And before the spiked rain,
the wind's tongue,
and light so whole it sucks us in,
we'll fling salt, spit
and turn three times around
wearing amulets and rings.

With all our zeros here and sweet,
clocks whispering in present tense,
we'll breathe the riverrush of life,
a spell for sleeping
a spell for waking
as morning hovers like surprise.

While day shifts in the marrow
and light goes rainbow in the ditch,
we'll tug our shadows in,
change our names,
walk a crooked mile
and tiptoe past the long, long finger     tapping.

Listen Darling Death,
lost in the wonder of your own myth,
don't wait up for us
we'll be a little while longer.


It is enough to lean against
the fabric of your flesh.
It is enough to lie
in the domestic morning.

It is enough to watch light
expand through windows
rising and falling
between our bodies on this bed,
this room this continent.

We grow wise watching leaky faucets,
faded wallpaper, mismatched socks.
The coffee boiling on the stone
prepares us for the network news,
shopping malls, miracle cures
and tomorrow always sitting on our bed.

But in this rush of years,
we have not lost the pure imagined past,
the here-it-is, the pitch, the pinnacle
of time shining from within a million
summers or the music so intense it disappears.

We invent a lifetime out of small things,
free the air between our fingers,
diagram the star, dream them into
daylight and admit the future
which is here, always here
like clock that runs forever.