D e b r a h M o r k u n



lavender buds sent over
on the ferry
each year, we in this prison lot
sell our beads
to the captains of
the train
that goes over the border

a bushel of prisoners’
sold to the men
who drive
the trains


i’ve got your
standing next to
the armory
your pink city


we are shining, and I can’t see beyond the city, by-ways
we are shining with tickets to the steamship

we are a shining place name, where the river is the ocean is the desert is the sea and the city where his antlers poke through

shining in the lobster town, torched-out glances
to see fire we went to the local reproduction of the holocaust
home-made replica, sewn by our mothers in the back lot
of the churches, motley firmament

they swore they were shining when mother left them for the birds to feast upon,
when they were gobbled up by the birds in their harvest

and the nest, of course, where the children were left after birth
they left their clothes, their infant clothes, and swore like a cocoon
they would find them once they gingerly removed their sacred cloaks
standing bare before the bruised children of the isle
who have come to keep the surf a hand-washed ornament


invisible. reef thorns dawn.

we drove hammers. we moved
across the country
and the toads

and the flag-fishers:
cenotaphs, carry us

carry us, soldiers
carry us into the backroom of the harem yard where the girls are counting figs

carry us cenotaphs, for the mercy of the prison guard comes later than our grandmothers spooning one cup of desert sand into the last tartar’s pot

carry us down the back road and closer to the ferris wheel, where our brothers stand making sense of circular motions, ginger wings



in the halls of saints
we piled sword
upon sword
and kept fighting

kept our two-selves
split, one in the background
and one of us the cenotaph –

a putrid shell of a shanty town
flag-fishers, the flags of generic
heaven, plaques celebrating
the last man standing


second deviation. continuation in the direction of the first impulse
toward water. resulting stamina

again, the second deviation. the standard way to understand the cyclops as he pulls out his ruler to measure the sun

before the first impulse. the cyclone lane jammed with post-war lilacs

again, the second deviation. city commerce. in the backyard of the lumber field we create a cannon so large we cramp/camp in playing fields shielding time historical

weather reports no longer make sense eight years after you hear them


I heard them singing to the sea / I saw them collecting their eyes from the parlor mat so they could make out the apparitions of the children on the ferry boat more clearly

I saw them give themselves over to the fallen churches / I heard them singing the names of their children to the shrines where they left their babies unguarded

I saw them pewter-like / they were carved. fossil fuels. steam of metal factories

I saw them break / a thousand people stood upright against the tenement building, my heart pounds as the usher removes my father from this book of history and puts him in the used car lot, grieving

They fell apart / they gutter-sniped the stone throne like interlopers ready to get in between the news and the honey jars of this singing sea

No more golden arrows to sell them / no more children like this on the beach


Wilderness, path of access

to the south, we see
silver eagles

over the hills, we see
her golden skirts

this is explicit: whomsoever
shall bronze

the demi-gods

will blank-out


O Human Activity on this moral plane.

Blood-vessel. there is
a tradition of
eternity, there is

a tradition of hoisting
two broken souls
into the sky

to see if they still bare