from Dissolve

Sherwin Bitsui

Mother threw a platter

of blind spots on her son,

without knowing that bees

ached in her feet.

The beads of her breath

sank into his chest —

          he kept them five long years.

A tassel of singed hair cinched

around his wrists,

key latches soothing songbirds

in his pockets of fire —

he stains the night’s rim

with sprigs of dry air

exiting fevering bodies

       cupped briefly by their itching.









She daubs clear his brow,

remembers: syringes filled with lake mist,

wonders if it was him

who strung teeth marks

                     across her wrist the night before.

Together, they pace

the ravine’s gauge nearing empty,

step upon a pale horse

lying on the earth's heat,

legs upright in the cattle guard,

          butcher paper stretched taut over wiry ribs.

Its gasping sent them barreling

          back toward the awakened cornfield.

Somewhere, between,

          they leapt back into their bodies,

                                they didn’t recognize their own voices.









Her apparition ferries the flowers of their bruises

          back to the severing.

The bullwhip’s knotted eye turns toward her and only her.

When fences come to suckle,

            where will her mind’s legs carry her?









Her departure alights them with memory.

Moths mill about her feet’s sleeping fountains.

Her throat’s cave claims each son’s song,

wears them like tiger’s legs

          across nights striped and fanged.

How they stretch between moon and helium,

how they weave tuned and plucked

          out of the sea’s gassed maw.

How they uncover, with clear hands,

a handful of hushed hours

held like silver coins,

           where their eyes fail to shut     for the third time.





about the author