Of an Amethyst Knee


Ray May and Joshua A. Ware

The tide was too strong, she said. Riptide. Undertow. Words to warn us. On a concrete bench that faces the sea, a spray-painted memorial: Aloha, Spooner.
 
                                                                                 Fiddler crabs
skittered across the sand, tracing moisture-outlines left by evening breakers. She looked
down at her feet & stared at the pincer that grew out from where her big toe should have
been.
          I am asymmetry.
                                     A receding tide reminds me: molt into something lopsided
                                                                                                                      —&
then she laughed, head cocked, sunshine hitting just one cheek. His toe, she said, to bite.
She watched him crawl away, beady-eyed. Once he was gone, she wept. Tears beaded
with sunshine.
 
          I. The antidote to our unnaturalness. Seaward. Without tides. Language laughed
          when we called it wild.
 
          II. Entangled in a tear, she retreats into sunshine. A frontier that wilds the wilds.
          A visit from herself.
 
          III. Nostalgia. The smell of rotted crab-husk. Receding, the seascape undoes the
          myth of becoming-crab. Vext the dim sea: I become ignorance.
 
But there is no such thing as nostalgia here, no such thing as trite, no undoing what’s
been done. You cannot erase the word.
 
He doesn’t listen. Myth, he says, is you.
I’m fighting a wordless song.
 
          f(I)= Retreat into an entangled tear.
 
          f(II)= Recede. Become the myth of smell.
 
          f(III)= Sentences are our antidote.
 
& in the imaginary     where the daughter speaks in sonic epitaphs    a broken witch holds
hands of spiders.
 
It took the rest of our lives to unfence the garden.
 
It took the garden to turn loose my voice.
 
It took my voice to resist the lasso.
 
          Circling, it circles above my head. Into sky. Into sea. Red crab claw. A loop
          tossed out to catch something there. Find me. Or, don’t.
 
          Shadows of spiders climb the walls. It is dusk. We are tired. She says she’ll go to
          bed now. She says, Tomorrow, a swim.
 
I unwind her in my lap – hair, spider, dust, fog. I unwind her until she is just center,
pulsing, ready for sleep.
 
          I kiss her, the re-imagined landscape
 
          untangled of lint & fabric-weed
 
          once, she wore a blue line
          underneath yellow skin, jaundiced
 
          now an earthen whisper:
          tarbox holding camphor & wormwood
 
          fog hovers & unnerves her
          she hates anyplace that tries
          to hold her, mist that winds
          its arms around her body.
 
Everything she owns in these three rooms, the dog asleep in bed. Blue fabric-weed, she
wishes for something to tie around her finger. Remind her what she’s risen from. She
secrets these thoughts away, then presses her ear to the ground.
 
Listen: earthen whisper, dream dogs, the tarbox full of camphor. Everything can be
undone
, says the center of the world.  
On a fox-throated morning you re-emerge from cotton-glass & parrot-bells with
handsome features & a torso made of iron. You put your hands to the ground. You
startle at the sound of:
 
                    cattle wrest from sleep
                    dusty eyes & seedling flesh.
 
                    Cold oil yellows your arms
                    & ignites deep within you.
 
                    Closed eyes, tribes of neurons
                    weave words with echolocation.
 
                    The precision of animal language.
 
Everything she dreams in these three rooms, a dream asleep in bed. Silent sighs on a fresh
crab-husk, a riptide undoes the arms around her torso inside her seascape, sea of her bed
of her sleep of her eyes. Free of misted clutches, an ocean
                                                                     —of sound rolling inside her.
An ocean unfenced
 
Only: sky, or sea, or voice. Animal language. Echolocation.
 
To warn: here is wall, here is tree, here is flame. Weave your body through it now. So
then, a morning
, she says.
                                      Yes. Fox-throated, meaning white. Fox-throat meaning: hope.