Oct/Nov 2000 Poetry

Two Poems

by Kim Welliver


The Killing

I try to imagine the way it must have gone,
the nuts and bolts of planning such a thing.
did it come in snips and dribbles, blossoming sickly
from a small warped seed, the gleeful idea
of random destruction giving birth to massacre.

Or was it unplanned, a sudden blood-lust booming in your veins,
some maniac craving to gut peace from the night, to rend
into nothingness that which was mild and harmless, to wreak
from this moment's pause in slumber, the grossest carnage.
I can see it too clearly; the night smooth and deep

licked with the faint tang of late summer, autumn's
turbid vow, and the quiet congregation folded
like soft brown prayers, settling, breasts pressed
to bent grass, in sleep. And then you came like Herod's boys,
with your killing hands. Twenty dead before you were through,

the earth scarred where your heels dug in for torque, as you swung
one warm, small head neatly palmed in each hard hand,
bodies arcing out, necks wrung, the arterial gout. Quick work.
Then their bodies, dropped, slack fistfuls of feathers,
the curious wind upon their backs, the only motion.

Almost as difficult to grasp as your cowards' assault, is the puzzle
of why they remained, these wild ones, not held by some intangible
domestic tether, some obscure sense within, of obligation.
After you waded through them, like Azrael, stinking of their blood,
after the first few lay dead, strewn bleeding across the gentle green,

why didn't they flee, take to the night air with a great crying out?
Did they, seeing you booted and bloody, think you some horrific gods
of anatine retribution? Or was some dark demented far-flung star
leaking corrupt madness along its pale, translucent rays.
What lead you to such a slaughter, and them, to meekly stay?.


Blue Corn

In my dreams last night, I was the blue corn woman
moving like a blessing through sand pueblos
where Piki baked on hot stones
& children with brown faces, bent corn husks into stars.

I dreamed I left behind the small, tatty grime
of my other self, the self who wounds with words,
then tends the hurt with anger, my other self
who wads, knees to chin, in an empty bed,

smelling only your absence
the white, dust-mite smell of loss.
In my dream I was wholesome & wholly generous
bearing green seeds, dancing our rebirth in fertile songs.

In this dream, my eyes were no longer
excised bits of hot baked sky,
but promises blue as cornflowers,
blue-corn blue.

Moving like summer warmth through these people
I called to a vivid horse
with the wind tangled in his mouth.
He was black rippling haunch & pale plunging head,

& I embraced him, pressing my hot face like love
against the damp velvet of his neck, & whispered
"Go out into the desert, be my eyes,
find him in the secret places."

& he went, flaring into the dusk, through snares of light,
beyond Sage, Saguaro & Rabbitbrush, his hooves
echoing in red arroyos, & sandstone canyons.
& when he returned, my horse, coming like a dark dappled flame

through the waning light, through the night's new breath
of corn and woodsmoke, and green, green growth.
he brought me a man, the other you,
battered, crumpled, lacerated by rattler bite

& scorpion sting.
& I was the blue corn woman, holding laughter
on my toungue like a gift. I lay my hands
blue as my cornflower eyes, blue-corn blue,

upon your wounds & with my laughing mouth
I kissed & sang you whole again.
Whole & wholesome & wholly sound as this,
my other self, my blue-corn self who does not know

the barren woman,
fetal curled in her empty bed, your note fisted
in one white hard hand,
her empty mouth good only for weeping.


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