In Their Land
A man sells thousands of balloons on the shore
of the sea they have made. Alice buys them all.
Gives Jenny the pink ones and keeps the yellows,
lets the rest go easing up into the sky. Jenny says,
If I were an old building I’d want to be by the ocean.
Alice gives Jenny the yellow balloons.
a cartographic note small memento
of a girl’s high ceiling arched windows
cold of the bell tower lacquered floors
spill into egg-white new carpet soft
enough for a face and under the latched
door two feet step out of one thing
and into something else
sky bereaves in its hot dark coat
cars in the lot huff ozone
checkers clatter the floor
one voice above the rest
all this noise, dear—
I can no longer hear you echo
Alice Wises Up
No girl’s puppet, no puppet’s lips
when this could just as simply be a
gymnastic genocide, cloud-tarped departure,
caravan of blueprints leaving the scene
with me leading the way.
No no, this line of tape is not for me—
no ma’am, I can sight-read where
I’m headed and tell when someone’s
white-walling me— no, this captain says
she’s the pick and all others can please go
Alice Corrects Herself on Several Points
The river smelled very salty.
I shut myself up in segments, like a telescope,
and dove in. Started swimming.
Now tell me, is this New Zealand or Australia?
Do cats eat bats? Do bats eat cats?
Have you ever tried to curtsy while
you’re falling off the earth?
I could say poplar tree
I could say blue
I could say sparrow on a telephone wire
say tender-shingled roof
say citrus smell on my pillow
I could say wind chimes, two notes
I could say water
say warm bread