You wanted everything, to hold it all: the precise
measure of tears filling each eye, to ingest
parts of a concerto into the body; you want
a locked box for the scraps of paper, that recipe

of ideas; a treasure chest to quarantine your heart -
but already it's the time of dahlias, the ending
of the time of sunflowers; almost the reign
of goannas, when the birds call unmistakable

warnings to one another. You need to zoom in
so closely a sprig of lavender becomes myriad
tiny blooms bursting in spirals; you had to lick
the knife blade. Waking cut like a sword,

clambering from the dream of a soldier leaving -
she was pressing her cheek against the cotton chest
of a tall man, faceless, inhaling serenity and amaranth;
the lull, the surrender into a dark smudge of sleep:
and now a honey flesh shines through cracked bark.

The ardent harbour exploding with infinite stars:
you tried to hold it all, like the knife between
your teeth, it's a trapdoor into the night now:
under the clipped fingernail of a moon, you find
yourself staring straight into the eyes of an owl.

-Jane Gibian


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