Four Prose Poems



Afternoon in Amherst


A lark flew into a window, killed itself. It lay on the ground, half split open. I picked it up, inserted my thumbs and split it the rest of the way, like peeling a banana from the middle. Inside, nestled below the lungs, just on top of the diaphragm, was the music, rolled in silver bulbs.

Then we had tea.

Lavinia made some biscuits — —

Not as good as mine.




Notes Toward a Story for the Blind

There is a whorehouse for the blind, and the prostitutes are blind too. Must write a story about that.  —Anais Nin


As children close their eyes tight and walk around the house, try to eat lunch. As some walk through midnight apartments and never bark their shins.

I knew an old woman who was blind and content. She took too obvious a delight in feeling the faces of young men. Working from forehead to chin, around to the ears, once more quickly from forehead to chin.

Once I was asked why I closed my eyes while kissing. It was the person I was kissing with asked this. Now I always check and most others close theirs too, except when they peek to see if mine are closed. Clenched or fluttering.

Imagine the dreams of the blind. Realize you cannot remember your own.

Imagine this place also catering to voyeurs silent on thick carpets, unimpressed by the comedy of fumblings.

I am afraid that if I take this blindfold off I will find that I am running my fingers through the wrong person's hair.

Your eye against the keyhole despite hat pins, darning needles.





Attempting to Learn the Language of Love


I. I only. I only want. I only want you. I only want you to. I only want you to tell. I only want you to tell me. I only want you to tell me what. I only want you to tell me what you. I only want you to tell me what you want. Only want you to tell me what you want. Want you to tell me what you want. You to tell me what you want. To tell me what you want. Tell me what you want. Me what you want. What you want. You want. Want.





Family Planning


My grandmother kept her legs clenched while sweeping. She believed in the possibility of air-borne sperm. And who can be blamed for their beliefs? She was Catholic, but found the rhythm method unacceptable, waiting into the night for the right-tempo song to come on the radio. She began using things around the kitchen, common household utensils that would not be missed. Bent spoons and salt shaker bottoms disappeared through her cervix, never to be seen again. They were absorbed, integrated into her internal genitalia. A new one installed every two years. Tea figurines illustrating famous nursery rhymes. The coroner paled.