Sprawling in Spring’s Trilogy
by Amy Trussell
Art by Arizona Smith
The blown up ship in the chest
was what I was trying to reign in,
putting out the galley fire
and trying to bail out at the same time.
Rain of lit petals in lightning cracks.
It was like a tsunami coming down from the coast-
thinking of the your wedding dress flaming
up in the house fire in Hazelhurst, Misssippi
Here, from across a continent,
the head gets lost, a disengaged wheel rolling
off the cliff and sputtering into the sea,
the Fool chasing behind with a stick.
What became of sprawling in Spring’s meadow,
letting the clouds bring on parabola:
like two elephant heads, signaling
with their trunks to a stratified island?
It dissolves in billowing wind
when I try to describe it to you.
In the delta many years ago
A bumper sticker on our collaborator’s door
said Minimalism : It’s The Least You Can Do
and all I can do now is try and cram the image
into a distant sinkhole of the brain
to keep it from exploding after seeing the photo
of your roof and beams disintegrating
into devil’s orange but still surrounded in an Eden
of lush trees, early on before it all collapsed.
Between storms, swathes of petals bear down
from the limbs and this is what I call in,
swirling round the balls and sockets
of your future body, future life:
you poet, transplanted to Emily Dickensen
country, with a windfall apple in hand
The Soul’s Compass
Why there is a force, almost elemental,
that makes aspects of the body attack itself,
like the heart?
The pain feels like nitroglycerine
blowing up a dam with you at the center.
Lights out and thank god for the precision of surgeons
and the soul’s compass to press on,
like Sally Ride floating far above the earth
and what it meant to be a woman.
Or Bette Davis who said, I survived because
I was tougher than the rest.
A woman in an emergency can be like a mare in foal
forging through the intensity
to reproduce the next version of herself,
a new mammal exploring terra firma.
Look at the flower called shooting star
pushing up on the slope
amid the litter of bottle rockets
that the youth set off at new year
as a pre-emptive celebration
of you going through the big bang
and coming out ahead of the curve.
Heart strings interlace with
your family of practical alchemists:
chopping wood, carrying water,
picking rocks out of horseshoes,
annointing the feet of the faithful.
Placing your hands on their shoulders,
you learn to walk again.
The Band of Energy
Awaken to hoofbeats on cobblestones
then thunder rolling in, magnetized by the women
in the marketplace playing drums.
Sometimes the dark feels lighter than day,
brightness of music spilling out.
A Native walks down the street
who was born with a panther at the window
that had drifted in from the woods.
What does it mean to be out of them?
the reading states your blood needs salting
A folkloric doctor said to drink ocean water
in spring water, one quarter of a teaspoon a day.
You shove what your eyes’ shed into bread you knead,
like mastic tears, to make the loaves medicinal.
Sometimes you must offer up a kidney
stew to the vultures set out to appease them,
saving only a morsel for yourself.
That’s the spirit-dose for strengthening
the band of energy surrounding the body
connected with longevity and power.
At day’s zenith she places a volcanic rock
in the spiral to earth you.
Fatten your cells on the overflowing oil urns
burning in the sky, one in day, one for night.