(after)

 

        every spider

has winched itself         

            eave     to eave

           

            there is a time

for the fly

            to be silenced

 

 

after

            every fly

has been silenced        

            floors

 

begin to speak

           

after

            every

            floorboard

has had its say           

 

 

there’s only

            the sound

 

            of your tread

 

I can never tell            

 

            if you’re walking away 

 

            or towards me            

 

(after) every night

 

            tensing for

           

 your arrival

 

            or departure   

 

I begin to think I can hear

 

            the effort

 

of silk             unspooling     

 

from the spider          

 

the arrowhead

 

            of the fly        

 

wounding the silk                   

 

the sound

 

            of something

 

dying   away

 

            like

 

            footfalls

 

 

 

What I Might Say

after Rumi

 

 

Tonight, I could be a fig tree, a resinous bed of mint, 

a field of grapevines. Small and shivering leaves.  

 

I could be bamboo, muttering to myself. Plaiting the edge

of a dried lake bed, waiting for the axe. 

 

Rosemary, self-seeded among succulents. A trespasser,

not hiding my spikes, hoping you’ll let me stay.

 

The jewel spider, deep within the bezel of your eaves.

Guarding the threshold, ready with my silk.

 

Even belladonna in a ghostly dress, eyes unseeing, wide.

Circling the outside of your house, breathing through its cracks.

 

I long to be herbs in your fist, a lacquered eggplant, lemon.

A naked garlic clove, its fever numbing in your mouth.

 

Instead, while we sleep, I deepen under you. Become

uneasy water, an upturned boat, its mooring caught.

 

 

 

 

Part of the self leaves the body when we sleep

and changes shape. You might say, “Last night

I was a cypress tree, a small bed of tulips,

a field of grapevines.” 

- Rumi 

 

(from  ‘Unmarked Boxes’ in The Essential Rumi: New Expanded Edition, 2004, translated by Coleman Barks. New York: HarperOne. 272)