In my mouth the name of God an overripe pear: a grain, a grit
on the tongue. A grail, all vowel-shaped gaps, like lipping the rim
of an empty cup, that low-frequency opening undoing, unhinging
the jaw. God’s name as eyetooth, meat-intended, a visible
skeletal hint. God as salve for chalk. For the bent heart, the desire
that my desires would move in unison as fish. For a fox seems free,
but he’s leashed to each rabbit. To the bustle in a hen’s throat.
For sometimes an oak upended by unbearable wind
exposes a ribcage rooted in, for we forget
who’s interred where once the crosses disappear—the unearthed
remains indistinguishable, no matter what loves or aches
once marked the softer, vanished parts. For even enduring yearning
can’t scrimshaw into marrow. The mercy of a wish’s eventual
hush. God’s name inhabiting the pauses
between consonants, those intercostal lulls, omissions
when written but bound, once voiced, to sinew in.
The Image archive is supported in part by an award from the National Endowment for the Arts.