It happened like this.

            Darkness claimed her

eyes,

            those months when she had bandages

like a tight fist

                        jammed

into each eyesocket.

                                    The dark

kept pieces of her

                             eyes, and left

itself behind, little drops of darkness,

                                                            scattered

across her retinas

                             like black stars.

 

                                                            This explains why

        she never stops touching him with her eyes

closed, why she walks around her rooms alone with her eyes

closed, why she wishes she could write it down with her eyes

closed, why she knows there’s darkness

inside her.

 

 

Wherever it goes, the darkness takes her

dark eyes with it,

she moves inside it

 

to Asia when the sun’s above her roof,

            to the bottom of the sea,

            swims through hidden caves,

                        she rides under the feathers

                        of a drifting raven, slips

                                    along the sidewalk in shadows,

                                                sneaks through your pupils

                                                and into your skull,

                                                            dives into an inkwell and comes back up,

                                                            darkness dripping from her body

                                                            in black script.

 

You can go so many places, come back

with so many things, if

you keep your closed eyes open in the dark,

twin moons in the sky of your head.

Copyright Melanie Cameron, Holding the Dark, The Muses' Company, 1999



           
I love you

furiously.  I love you

like the dancer spinning

in an empty room,

leaping              collapsing

on an oak floor,

in a path of sunlight.

 

            I love you

like the sculptor moving her hands

over marble, knowing

of a centre she will never carve, so

cold      solid     silent.

 

            I love you

like the gardener

with dirt on her knees,

purple flowers in her hair,

creeping-thyme tucked under her tongue,

 

like the carpenter sanding pine,

fragrance of wood on her skin all day,

 

like the potter warming clay

with the heat of her palms,

 

like the musician in a rainstorm.

 

            I love you

in so many layers, in so much space,

in skies of white paper,

            I love you

off this land, past these stars,

like the poet who takes you with her.

Copyright Melanie Cameron, Holding the Dark, The Muses' Company, 1999


 

Beyond wishing, she wishes

you could feel her, like the poem

she is.  If you could

feel her that way, she would

have so many syllables, rhymes,

a beautiful sound on your tongue, a

rhythm, you would always know

where she’s moving next, but

never know just how

she’d take you

there.  She would

wrap herself around you,

like the poem she is.  You would rest

inside her, like breath.

Copyright Melanie Cameron, Holding the Dark, The Muses' Company, 1999


 

Walking into each other, and walking

 

around a frozen lake in spring, fallen

branches like crude brushstrokes, slashed across ice and sky,

 

over a beaver dam, its stagnating defiance obvious,

its creators’ presence perfectly concealed.

 

Sleeping on a picnic table, clouds of bugs, one cloudless August night.

 

Lazing around in an autumn field, crickets humming,

smoke obscuring the setting sun.

 

Wandering through cemeteries along the roadside,

adding and subtracting years, calculating

relationships between the dead, speculating class, cause,

loss.

 

Walking

beside the ocean at dusk, the rugged cup of its thrashing body,

dangerous and foreign.  The girl, a woman, almost

 

stepping over a cliff, its immaculate vertical disguise.

 

Pulses angry as the tide below, the woman, the man, lying flat

on a mock-carpet of tough grass at cliff-edge.

 

The woman thinking, We’ll remember this.  How soon

 

one will step, quite accidentally,

beyond these days, into memory’s arms, out of the other’s

loving grasp.

Copyright Melanie Cameron, wake, The Muses' Company, 2003


She can come sit

in this alcove on this bank,

beside the Assiniboine.  She

can imagine

time

 

before

this concrete city, days

 

when things moved

in the directions they wanted to, when

 

you could be

alone

with the water, its slow-moving

medicine.  And yet,

 

as she sits on this bank, traffic racing

four directions around her, and her

pleading only

for one, she knows that

direction

 

will pour

down, in

the form of things

she might not

immediately recognize.  And she knows it

 

will carry her

toward where

she must go, as the Assiniboine

always carries itself

toward the Red.

 

            And while she waits, a man

            in a yellow raincoat will come

            from the east, sit

 

            quietly with her, though far

            enough away that she can’t

            make out his face or smell

            the tobacco, the cigarette

            he lights.  Like her, he is

 

 

            sitting alone, in this busy

            city, and she

 

            can tell by his raincoat that he’s pleading

            too, and that he believes

            direction will pour down.

Copyright Melanie Cameron, wake, The Muses' Company, 2003


Memory needs

you or it

 

has nothing, is less

 

            than the black

            box of night, closed

            indefinitely, less

 

                        than a never

                        -stirred

                        lake, no thing

 

                        to press against

 

                                    its cheek, less than rock

                                    unturned, no one

 

                                    to witness

                                    its shadow beneath, or its pulse

 

                                    within, absent or too

                                    slow to be

                                    taken.  And you

 

                                                                        need memory because you need

 

                                                                        yourselves

                                                                        to stay.  That simple.  You

                                                                        don’t

 

                                                                        want

to be, can’t

 

imagine being,

alone

with you.

Copyright Melanie Cameron, wake, The Muses' Company, 2003

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