AMY LEIGH WICKS
When I ask if you still love me
I expect to be read a bedtime story
Where wolf cracks ankle bone
before swallowing woman.
Instead I am here, a mermaid
swimming slow toward a hazy light.
When I whisper to God
what the end is, I am listening for the kind
of horse that rears back in the dark.
For Félix González-Torres
What began in the womb continues on the porch
twenty seven years later. Did I make myself
the way I am? Staring at the sun until I see
black spots. The line where sky meets sea
could be a seam, hiding a zipper, and then what?
Sure I get down on my knees sometimes.
Everybody’s gotta serve someone, and some
days it’s too hard to stand. Some prayers
sound a little like echoes. Some modern art looks
a little like my heart, a pile of hard candy
disappearing one colored drop at a time. Who said love
was bad? There is still the problem of skin, but
on the other side of sky and sea is a pile-
every sweet little thing that’s been lost.
Where Stars Go
After Dylan Thomas
Night falls in curves and lines;
If the sea moves, the moon gathers it to heart
And ripples the waveless sky. Send all of the ghosts
Back to their beds, the calm of night
Spreads its wings where no bird makes its home.
Little sun in the sky shines on the young
In their restless rage; where no questions stir,
Constellations fall into the glass, are swallowed.
The bar becomes a stranger’s bed, a nightmare sty
To prod electric girls with television eyes;
The whole thing makes a quick affair.
The old man’s gaze is blank when he sighs a grey sigh;
The slow arrival of spring pushes through mud
And dies again each fall. See how the moon peels
Back the sky to watch the pea sleeping in its pod?
Even the ocean hears blood
When it cries out from the ground.
By late afternoon, the loaves are devoured,
The fish eaten down to the bones. What miracle
Unpins the sail for the wind to wear it as a robe;
When the ocean stops moving, lift its lid
And ask what knots would be undone
By love. Night spreads its wings in rain
And ghosts tell the story of a man
catching hold of the biggest fish before it dies.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Amy Leigh Wicks is undertaking her PhD in Poetry at Victoria University’s IIML. She is the author of Orange Juice and Rooftops, and recent work can be found in Ika 3, SWAMP, and the forthcoming New Zealand Poetry Society’s anthology.