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Thursday 20 December 2012

Shari Caplan

Markers in Darkness
My breasts pinch and widen
like chrysanthemums bothered
by the last bees. Under my linens, a lump
of snow thickens like soft gruel, a curled weasel prodding claws.

The mother shudders a filmy current on amber hay
and milky lank slips into the straw.

Against the black ash we learn to read bark
with our backs. Your hot nerve eats a white gash
in the furrow, burrows a seed in mossy skirts.

Licked clean, a flower burns
on the brown foal’s breast. It will grow
annually further from itself,
toward each budding limb.

We too, its eggshell eyes tell, shall braid
pathways away from the heart.

You borrow
chrysanthemums, don’t know
you cannot sew roots back together.

you will go. Soon I will be moon-hearted and fractured,
splinted by many black branches.

I slip
into your current, cold as gold
and shudder like an egg out of its shell.

I climb the mare and follow winnowing wood.

Under the ash I swaddle a lump of red clay
in velvet green buds, growing
cold like spilled gruel.

Dia de los Muertos

Beneath the skin is a gauntly bejeweled
ivory. We crunch it today, remembering
abuelita’s rolled dough crisped in the pan,
the knobbiness of her fingers.

The cemetery wears a moonlight gown
of candles and bright white faces. The village
trails petals and candies. They howl a hurricane.
We welcome you to the banquet, abuelita, little sister, lost lover.

Awake, they moan, awake they cry
begging those who have already given
to give again.

“Tell us there is something after.” “Tell us
we can rejoin.” “Tell us you have not forgotten.”

We snip marigolds from our gardens
to wear in braids and necklaces, remembering
bright beads of sweat on a boy’s neck
who kissed us next to the peppers.

Between the spirits is a waxed wall.
We light fires to melt it down, so we may roll
a ball of red into a new moon.

We adorn ourselves because we know
one day no one will run a finger over our eyebrow,
no one will rose-festoon our graves.
Shari Caplan is an MFA student at Lesley University and a Boston-based actress.

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