The Skeleton Key

Monday, July 5, 2010
I came across a house inside out.
I walked through all the walls of the rooms.
In bed, I found a black-bearded man
with jasper eyes, his neck in a noose.
I looked at the ceiling for a hook,
but the ceiling was city-lit space
and the rope wound out through the dim streets.
His eyes leaked. I wished into his face.
Before, a storm blew his belongings
across the town. I found his daughter
wandering and let her rent my dreams.
I found his wife leaning in the mirror
painting on crow’s feet. I thought I could
help and asked. He responded with rain
applause, water boiling manhole gongs,
the ocean’s rasping invitations.
In the inside-out house’s garden,
the central point had no apple tree,
instead a tree laden with serpents—
no wind there, no windows for a breeze.
They recoiled in synchronized motion
tongues testing the air in unison,
creating an illusion of wind,
the Lord walking through creation, tongues
retrieving vibrations that could spell
“Lord” and call him back as a witness.
Under the ticking Medusa tree,
Eve listened to an apple promise
it had a star to give. With Adam
she made an altar, sharpened a need
to sacrifice and see if a star
would ascend through the waving-snake tree.
Exiled in the tree, there was no space
to expand. So they began building streets
inside the people. Rush hour lights
up skin. While exhaust steams from armpits,
news helicopters orbit stomachs.
On Friday night, it’s hard to unwind—
the chaos of bars transfers through nerves,
the smells from cafes spill from our skin
making every stranger attractive.
Love isn’t sparked by hips swiveling
in blushing arms, but flooded buildings
endowed with work crews and scaffolding.
Some tell their children lore of fleeing,
back to the garden where the fruit speaks,
back to the inside-out house, and back
to the rope winding over dim streets.
Thursday, July 1, 2010