sam witt




Mother, I know your kitchen’s nothing like mine,

with its flawless faucet and its limeguarded sink.

With a wingnut in my fist, I stumble

into the kitchen, it’s telling me something, I think:

hatchling, she says, the sun swallowing itself, I can’t see. . . .

I want to know the landscape between these two rooms, the stumble

between two walls. Mother calls to tell me

those aren’t really birdcries you hear son

but chips of wet porcelain

I’m scouring with my fingers.

Those aren’t really birthwaters, the sink

stained with our fingercuts.

This morning I was afraid to speak for once–wingnut, judah,

birdcall, driblet, joy, (aren’t the birds lovely,)

this morning my mother calls to tell me I have a nice ass.

I want to hear those swallows sinkholing the air with their hunger cries:

we delight in the closing of our eyes

into the green shadows of quince fruit,

she calls to tell me

there’s more to life than a piece of ass,

it’s sunset, it’s dawn, go outside, but I don’t

I don’t sleep,

a cloud stuffed into trousers, a stumble

between two eyes,

and through thee darkness hath fallen on mine eyes:

the thumbprints of two dead stars,

a hoarse wheeze, a whisper,

quailed to the breezy silences: I love you, winglet.

I’m eating your green,

I’m rubbing you between my fingers,

she pulls the words out of me,

she pulls the teeth out of me, my bread tastes of stone.

She tells me that pain is my favorite word, the car

perfected in its joy, deaf, the birds perfected,

unheard, hatched into their cries:

we are thousands, unrelated, unweighting the branch.

Joy in the spleen, pickled, jarred; joy in the liverdust

scattered through a sifter, in my troubled skin,

in the dust of moder’s teeth,

I happily shine the morning, the emptiness

where once your spleen

was plugged and warm. The cold spot,

just under an infant’s tongue,

spreading throughout his entire body until he’s still

from that one blue touch of–

is it joy? A breeze stumbles me through the door–

moeder, I embrace the handkerchief soaked in bile,

I embrace the nail boiling in your happiness,

she puts my finger in her mouth, she puts my voice

in her mouth, each of her surfaces suckles the touch

out of my fingertips, linoleum and tile.

“There’s more,” she whispers.

She wills the sun down

and hides it in the leaves,

it’s dawn, dissolved into a fine paste between my eyes.

She’s leaning into me, into the cranial wrinkle

in my stomach, (I have to piss, I have to shit)

“taste your food,” she says. I sing.

I do not sing. I sing the milk

and there is no song, without thread and clothed,

I’m carrying an empty plate. I swallow.

Taste your food, judasberry. Hang from the Elder tree.

Float face down in the bathwater,

she whispered,

once a room held me, a stutter

between two walls, motherspace, suckle,

what passes through me,

O get it up for your food.