Cathexis Northwest Press

© 2018 

Morning Walk; Silent Treatment; Lamentation
Morning Walk

A discarded pillow—bloated,

corners chewed by kangaroo rats,

feathers precious commodities—

lying by coils of hose, 

desiccated and cracked.

 

Broken hub caps,

beer cans—all Light 

on these dirtways—

shattered bottles,

clear or brown and half buried,

labels baked, withered.

 

Plastic water jugs,

anonymous—no place

for celebrity smart water—

empty save only for spiders.

 

A child’s backpack,

faded pink, caught in thorns,

shredding at my touch.

 

And a cassette tape, brown

ribbons strung out in tatters,

El Gallo Grande:

the big cock, a silly man,

the Urban Dictionary says.

Silent Treatment

Rocky olive-groved hillsides, a limestone turreted mansion, 

windows flung open, my mother lying in bed.

 

Nearby a dove scratches at her pane, raps a morse code.

The gardener outside whistles a dirge to dawn

 

to the bombs that fell during the dark moonless night.  Metal on stone.

Looking back in the window, my mother lies dry, silent, grey.   

 

Her food tray, pastel green, remains untouched, refused.

A doctor down the hill puts straps on a young child’s legs.

 

Leather and metal.  Boy, six, wears a pinched face,

grips cold bed-handles.  Days of silence, 

 

my mother shut up, closed away, distant.  Her breath 

moves the circular room, her sighs bend the ashen pines. 

 

Doves return to their mourning-moans.

A tortoise pauses its morning trek to water, to listen.

 

There is no water here, but scalpel catches sun, warming

for blood, sinew, muscle carving.

Lamentation

We bury the living

in tidal pools washed clean

with a saline shameful

and true. And then we

raise the dead by vein and

line and each riven

crease weathered, worn,

worn out. Raise them up

to meet our eyes, to beckon

our ears at the sun’s

rising. Veins scarcely

wondering at the coursing

saltiness, at brush and fire

and timber golden with

a glory saved for the

sanctified. But this

life is hardly holy, bit

by bitter bit fragments

pull at the edges of the

eyes until we only know

the wetness, the salty

taste, of tears needing

to find their spending,

line by line, etched

along the rain-stained

littoral of our souls.

00:00 / 01:08
00:00 / 01:41
00:00 / 00:58

Kim Haines-Eitzen is a professor at Cornell University and a poet whose work draws upon her childhood in the Middle East and her current life in the lush Finger Lakes region of central New York and the high deserts of Arizona.