(after Walt Whitman's 'Ah Poverties, Wincings and Sulky Retreats')

You're an umbel--
your shoots; your loosenesses; your legs like pedicels;

eyes dark flat seeds screwed nearly shut against the light;
woodbine nerves; you seacoast angelica

(for what are your heteroflexible hands on my skin
but a flower moving, seeds drifting on a breeze?)--

when you finally touch me (my hands the dumbest of any)
(fingernails red petals on white sheets) I pluck you

(a cluster of flowers comes undone;
grinds into the ground)


The blossom
these blossoms
make of your face.


          (after Gwendolyn MacEwen's 'Magic Cats')

A baby rabbit is a kit
for making more baby rabbits.

Most rabbits do not celebrate their pasts or futures.
Rather, they are extremely righteous about food and fucking.

Domesticated rabbits see their cages as dukedoms.
They hold grudges for everything.
They avoid getting wet.

Rabbits cannot vomit.
Rabbits on the whole are reluctant to read poetry.
Rabbits have no costumes, although some love
clever, ambitious dramatic productions.
They breakdance when they're happy.

Rabbits recognize three breeds of rabbits:
up-ears, down-ears and crazy-legs.

Rabbit philosophy is based on the fact
that they can see everywhere
but directly in front of their faces.
Their patron saint is called Watches Borders.

When rabbits decide to die, they become humdrum,
silent among invisible mockingbirds.
Of course
all rabbits go to heaven;
it's impossible for them to sin.


Spring was greasy woodpeckers,
a snobbish elk with macho curves.

Summer drawled
a verdant whistle calling you home.

Autumn slid lonely into the beds,
hibiscus and mulch,
fucking graceful birds with tough feathers.

Winter went out buttoned up,
pulled a rough blanket onto her knees
and shouted silence louder than birdsong.

       Joanne Merriam 2010