[There’s a point]
There’s a point where it all gets still,
when the Bandleader’s there between the branches
of my fingers. When I cover my eyes
as if to block out. To the left of us,
to the left of the city an hour away,
there’s the place my father called
the null point:
where you can see better and everything gets
like a spring morning, he’d stand
behind us on the mountain. He’d place
his hands on my shoulders.
He’d say, Try it
with the birds first, my thumb in the early light
surrounded by golden haze. I’d cover
the bird no larger than
my thumb. Then we’d find the locusts
and then we’d try the bees
(the day growing hotter, the day itself starting
to hum and buzz). Get still,
he’d say, Let your eyes get loose and
double. And then focus in.
To the left. To the spot the summer came inside
me. Still and silent like someone diving in the pool.
How you lie there in the stillness ’til they
surface. That’s how we learned. Birds then the bees
then the mayflies like dandelions blown to
bits. I was better at it than my Brother.
I was more patient: little thumb on the mayfly,
little thumb held to the left of us.
The Bandleader calls it the Angel Position.
The what? I asked. The Angel Position. Let me
explain, the Bandleader says. No.
Let me show you. Down on whose knees.
below me. I’m in the window,
the ocean behind us, the fronds of the palm
like a crown and in the shadow like
wings. Where the curtains would be
hooked, my wrists instead. I don’t know,
I said. says, You’ll like it.
Naked with the sun warming my back.
Almost sunset. You’re orange, the Bandleader
says. You’re getting like fire. My shadow
getting larger than me. My crown of palms
now my wings against the wall. And the stool
my bare feet stand on shaking when touches
it. Don’t touch it, I say. Don’t touch it, you’ll break
my arms. You’re an angel, the Bandleader says,
You’ll love it. At first the glass feels cool on my back.
leaves me like that to go get a drink. To answer
the phone. What must the whales think?
An angel in the window. Another girl splayed
blocked a little by the palm
while the dealer and the Bandleader
talk by the pool. How much do I want it?
as stands in the door. How much?
[Some kids killed a goat]
Some kids killed a goat and cooked him in the ground.
They had us over. Deep in the hills on someone
else’s ranch. It was good.
They cooked him all day and asked us to come
by and loved it: the Bandleader
got out of the car laughing. It was good:
the kids ambling towards us lights making stars all around they said,
The air smelled like smoke,
they lifted the goat out of the ground,
all their hands moving along it on the wood table. Seven knives and
everyone laughing. The kids picking off the skin and handing me some.
Then the ribs cut through. Then the haunches and the hams. Someone
took the head for soup. One of the older women. Someone brought
plates piled high with corn. This is so good, the Bandleader said. It came
right off the bone. We put it in tortillas and ate it with our fingers in the
darkness with little lights shining above. It wasn’t greasy like I thought
it would be. Boys were feeding girls and laughing. Someone thanked the
goat and all the sweet kids said, Thank you, goat. And the Bandleader
said, Thank you, goat, and grinned at me. All the kids running around
and one ran up and said, I know who you are! And the Bandleader said,
Who am I? And the boy squealed and ran away. Come here, I heard the
Bandleader say. Come here.
feeding me the juiciest meat and kissing its steam off my chin.
[The paint chipped away]
The paint chipped away on the wall looked like the bull
that we found in the sky: little bull’s legs
with the big head and a pile of stars in his neck.
Near the Queen’s Suite
that rises in Autumn.
Pegasus, Andromeda, and The Great
Square. (what we called my father
when we got old enough,
before we didn’t talk anymore)
Imagine having a pile of stars in your neck,
a bull made of stars.
I liked it best when we’d lie there
and look out the window.
run my hand through the air and say,
There to there
to there. It doesn’t really make sense
unless you know what you’re looking for.
Little bull in the sky on the wall with it’s hickey of stars.
Someone sucked the light right
to the surface.
Let me show you, I’d say.
Let me show where we are.