A Siberian Cold Front Takes
Over the Last Week of April
Siberia, I do not need your clouds today,
impaling me like a fork in a cheek.
Not that you don’t feel free to crowd my life with ancestors,
memories of bear paws and shrill white distances
cracking the civilized seams of my brain.
Today, Siberia, my head aches with your steel humidity,
cold as a slug’s mucous skirts,
slick as the stone pipe of a shamanka.
I’d like to refuse your telegram.
I am not the she-bear taken as wife by a man.
I will not give birth to the bear boy hero
who’ll save the tribe.
Take back your message
to the grandmothers who poke at the ashes
of my end-of-the-century thoughts.
Tell them to pack their travois of Arctic wind
and haul away the dull gray blades of these clouds.
Hurry on. Skip my generation of stars.
At the lip of spring
chapped by your kisses,
the numb thud of your heart stunning wisteria, tulips,
the bulging red buds of peonies,
time is short.
I fall daily in love with impossibilities- -
the screech owl flying in front of the new moon,
the rufous hummingbird who puffs his throat
like a lung of electric carnelian
through the window,
the man shaped like a grizzly bear
but I know that
just as I feel my womb contract
troops are massing on the other side of the globe
for another war
too quick for even their long talons to stop.
from the drunken boat