As a child I was taught
the small gathering of matter:
in the garage of summer,
a shelf of conch shells
flat yellow saddle oysters layered in jars,
small change purses of cicada exoskeleton,
the way morning comes through empty water glasses
and bedside earrings, bucked through pools of clavicle
and the seams just above the hips where we hinge ourselves
as Donna Summer summers.
I try to keep her sound in a ripple of oyster
a pink weld of metal, the drag of a hot arc—
I can only find robin eggs in the morning
particles waiting to fall apart
and this too is what existence feels like just before
burning off, the skeletal blue
the heaving of a day.
The painter I love makes green
from dirt yellow, blue and the pink moon of a lamb’s slaughter.
And from the furrow of his back, I recall wet
low swales of field
where we harvested potatoes,
Where in the heat he paints a rip of fig
and the hustle of dying.
We are tumbled earth and lime.
I rub clay into the back of your neck
from where rye grass takes the sheen of vinegar
like quarry water,
an electric blue that makes the body crave pickled onion in every iteration.
To extract dye from matter one must first start with a stock
of wool soaked in allium,
then onion skins.
This process is called saddening
where heat edges us into this seeping.
A quarry is still a wound of mountain.
June is still a coursing green, how
the kudzu of I-95 could kill us at any minute.
is harvested best after the morning and mosquitos
unearth themselves from her mouth of deep sea,
of cicada and their dry whistle of exoskeleton
fastens to the indigo stalk.
In Hindi the word ferment is fully toasted.
Build a fort of dry flower
and inside tell me of your sin bundle.
The crush of husk.
The family dog who withered here
her brown coat kinked in ringlet and grease
like the starch of trout and orange
sun beam, small pulpo
of white ash. This is my heft
of cotton, work in the shoulders
the saddening of indigo blooms in vats, these living
bodies of color.