Poems of the Week – Christine Hume


The Truth About Northern Lights

I’m not right. I’m interfered with
and bent as light. I tried to use the spots,
for months I tried with rings.
Only now I’m thinking in cracks
that keep a modern light
lunged. I keep the porch light on
to burn you off in ghosted purls,
the licks of which filament me.
My Day-Glo tongue’s cutthroat.
Though I’m not clear,
I’m a sight whose star stares back:
it’s a new kind of dead;
it hides its death in my cinched
testicle. That bright burr makes me
unreal and itch. By the time
I’m something else, you’re making weather
with so-and-so. Drama tenants you;
it wades in queasy waves,
mottled to the marrow.
My mean streak beams neon
so I won’t be refracted
or led to reflections. My eyes
trick god’s and kick the careless reversals
of radio cure-alls. Rays suffer
until they clench the damaged night in me:
where I go out, gone as done
in a mood as black moving through.
Darkness sits there, pleased.
An iridescent ire could not go unaired,
my limbs wicking at the window.
Look out the window.
I’ve outened the world
to show you real barrenness:
a void a light
warps into want and then wants
until it warps all it glances.

Send Up

Before this, we had a scene in mind and forgot our bodies there

We had been thinking in opposites anyway:

Five arctic hares swim the night

We saw only the radiant brains of distant wave-carved ice

All the people rushing to one side of the deck

There’s more skin underwater than anywhere else

Once melt-water hung in a cloud above us

We tick off stars until they drop sorry into sightless sea

The city’s lights glare up hard:

Our first heaven held under, that we may grow asunder

Animal House Shape of God

We tracked every acre in full fury.
It seemed withdrawn: a meandering line
in the dog-smelling wind.

Eyeless black wolves lope like
lapping fur currents.
Their thousand syncopations brighten

a splitting silence; the smoke
runs down the ridges.
Everyone else's son's in jail.

Why should our thoughts slope
below us? Grazing grotesques of rock—
see what's diamondback-struck.

We change our body temperature.
We are a noise, depending. The mind
blanks out a fault, shoots into river.

When one circles another,
it teaches forty-eight examples.
How many wolves we did not know.

We calm our hands by holding sticks.
Calling your name
guts the sky where branches

net a pulse of stars until calling out
bleeds your name please
make it drain all shape from our heart:

* all poems from Alaskaphrenia, Western Michigan University, 2004.

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